Skip to main content

Gov. Walz announces plan to create COVID-19 saliva testing lab in Minnesota

It's hoped the lab will double the state's testing capacity, including the potential for home testing.

Gov. Tim Walz has announced Minnesota has entered a partnership to create a new lab delivering saliva testing for COVID-19.

The state is finalizing a deal with Vault Health and RUCDR Infinite Biologics, the latter of which became the first company to get FDA authorized to conduct diagnostic saliva tests for the virus.

Vault Health meanwhile provides "logistics and telehealth services necessary to carry out the test," which could include talking Minnesotans through the process of testing themselves at home.

Walz says it's hoped that when the lab is up and running, potentially by early October, it will allow Minnesota to more than double its current testing capacity, processing as many as 30,000 samples a day and creating 250 jobs.

The Harvard School of Public Health estimates that Minnesota needs to do a little over 17,000 tests a day to successfully mitigate the spread of the virus, and 63,500 tests a day to suppress the virus.

The value of the contract is $14.66 million, paid for using federal CARES Act funding.

The Walz Administration had suggested the use of saliva tests be made available to teachers amid the return to school next month, albeit a significant number of school districts are planning to reopen with distance learning or a hybrid plan of in-person and remote instruction.

A saliva test requires less PPE than a traditional swab as it is self-collected under the supervision of a healthcare professional, and is also less invasive than the current diagnostic test in adults, which requires a swab towards the back of the nose.

The test requires patients to spit into a funnel attached to a small test tube, and once enough saliva is collected, the tube is closed with a plug that releases a preservative into the sample, with the sample then returned in a prepaid envelope.

Results of the saliva test are expected to take between 48 and 72 hours.

When it's up and running, Minnesotans are expected to be able to access the tests in three ways:

  • At one of 10 "semi-permanent sites" staffed by 15-20 people.
  • At mobile testing events across the state.
  • At home using a testing kit sent overnight via UPS, under the telehealth supervision of Vault Health.

“Public-private partnerships are the key to success in our state’s effort to combat COVID-19,” said Governor Walz Tuesday.

"We’ve come a long way on testing thanks to our work with the Mayo Clinic, the University of Minnesota, and our state’s health systems, but we’re looking to make COVID-19 tests even more accessible."

Weather forecast for Tuesday, Aug. 25

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 9.41.39 AM

Charges: Man carjacked father, daughter as they loaded groceries outside Cub

The father grappled with the suspect after he had pointed a gun at his daughter.

Screen Shot 2022-10-02 at 8.25.27 PM

Pilot, brother and sister killed when plane crashed into house are ID'd

The plane crashed into a house in Hermantown, Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2022-10-02 at 7.18.52 PM

Rolled semi, livestock on freeway interchange in Woodbury

Traffic cameras showed what appeared to be hogs on the side of the road.

Eric Reinbold

Reinbold guilty of murdering wife with 'particular cruelty'

Eric Reinbold, 46, was convicted of two counts of murder in the second degree in Pennington County Friday.

police tape

Armed assault suspect arrested after standoff in Waite Park

The standoff ended early Saturday when officer obtained a warrant for the home.

Screen Shot 2022-10-02 at 9.06.25 AM

3 dead after plane crashes into house in Hermantown

Two people in the house were uninjured.


Destructive fire at Maple Grove greenhouse and nursery

The fire burned early Sunday morning at a longtime Maple Grove greenhouse and nursery.

st. cloud state university hockey

SCSU player hospitalized after being taken off ice on stretcher

Luedtke was checked into the boards in the first period and down for a reported 10-15 minutes.

Amber alert wisconsin

Amber Alert for Kryssy King canceled, suspect still at large

Police beleived 15-year-old Kryssy King was with a 22-year-old man who remains wanted.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 10.18.12 AM

3 St. Paul fast food restaurants robbed in space of an hour

The thieves struck between 7:15 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 9.06.40 AM

What to do with the Kmart site? Minneapolis wants your ideas

The project will connect Nicollet Avenue south of Lake street and north of the Midtown Greenway, reestablishing a street grid.


coronavirus, covid-19

First COVID-19 saliva testing site in Minnesota opens Wednesday

It's in Duluth, and comes amid a wider effort to make saliva tests more available.

coronavirus, COVID-19 test

COVID-19: Minnesota planning rapid testing for young adults

Health officials are in the planning stages of launching a rapid testing option for 18 to 35 year olds.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz sounds COVID-19 alarm, launches massive testing initiative

Despite huge increases in testing, Minnesota's percent positive rate keeps rising.

Walz-May 6 - address

Walz to announce 'new action' on hospital capacity, expanding rapid testing

It comes as Minnesota's health system is facing its biggest COVID challenge yet.

Governor Tim Walz

Coronavirus: Gov. Walz to announce plan to increase testing

The governor has been eager to ramp up the state's testing.

covid saliva test

Mail order COVID-19 saliva testing now available statewide

MDH has also announced the opening of 11 more COVID-19 testing sites.