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Some Minnesotans seeking at-home COVID testing ahead of the return to school or work following the holidays were frustrated in their attempts over the New Year's holiday weekend.

Several residents shared on social media the messages they received when they attempted to apply for the free at-home COVID saliva tests that can be obtained by the state's saliva testing provider, Vault Health.

The message informed them that all available free tests had been shipped out for the day, and if they wanted one shipped out, they would have to pay for it.

This happened throughout New Year's weekend, which also coincided with the state's free COVID-19 testing facilities being closed on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, just days before students across the state were due to return to school.

On Twitter, the account for Vault Health, which became Minnesota's saliva testing partner in late summer 2020, said that a cap on free testing was being implemented "due to extremely high demand for COVID tests during the holiday."

But a Vault Health spokesperson told Bring Me The News that it has always had a cap on free tests, which on a typical day is 6,000 tests a day. 

However, this cap was reduced to just 1,500 tests per day over the holiday weekend, which it says was because UPS – one of its delivery partners – was not operating.

The cap has returned to 6,000 a day as of Monday, it said.

The limited access to testing came at a time of a surge in demand for testing following the holidays and ahead of the resumption of school.

There have been multiple posts and videos shared on social media in recent days showing long lines at state testing sites particularly on Thursday, which came before the two-day closure for the holidays.

You can order an at-home COVID saliva test here, and find free testing locations across Minnesota here.

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