Gov. Tim Walz says that Minnesota will be making available an additional one million at-home rapid COVID tests earmarked for schoolchildren by the end of the year.
The governor said that his administration has secured the supply of over-the-counter BD Veritor At-Home antigen test kits for schools and childcare providers, who will distribute them directly to Minnesota families.
It's one of two measures that the governor announced Friday as the delta variant continues to rage in Minnesota – claiming 62 more lives according to the latest statewide data release.
The other will see the state starting from Dec. 6 to offer booster shots for parents at school vaccination clinics, so parents and kids can get their shots at the same time.
The news that the state has secured additional at-home tests came a day after President Joe Biden announced his new COVID winter plan that includes a requirement that health insurers reimburse Americans for the cost of at-home tests.
Currently, Americans are paying as much as $25 for over-the-counter at-home COVID tests, whic
Walz says the one million tests the state has acquired will be received by the end of the year.
His health commissioner, Jan Malcolm, said in a news release: "Making it easier for families to get at-home rapid tests and boosters is important any time, but it is even more valuable now with the arrival of the Omicron variant.
"By expanding access to boosters and providing another testing option for schools and child care providers, we are offering Minnesota families even more tools to protect themselves and their children from COVID-19 in all its forms. We encourage all Minnesotans to get the shot as soon as possible and get tested as recommended."
The latest weekly COVID update for Minnesota showed than more than 4,000 more Minnesota students contracted COVID-19 in the week ending Nov. 27.
So far, 24% of Minnesota's children aged 5-11 have had 1 shot of COVID vaccine and 4% are fully vaccinated, while 56% of 12-15 year olds are fully-vaccinated, and 61% of 16-17 year olds.
Around 35% of Minnesotan adults have had a booster shot.