As schools welcome back more students, Minnesota health officials are encouraging families with children to get tested for COVID-19 every two weeks.
The Minnesota Department of Health's (MDH) on Wednesday has announced a new youth testing campaign as it works to limit COVID impacts while people wait to get vaccinated.
“Over the past few months, the number of students attending in-person classes has significantly increased, with thousands more expected to return to the classroom in coming weeks,” MDH Assistant Commissioner Dan Huff said in a statement. “With the rate of infection in decline, Gov. Walz has adjusted the dials so children and young adults can resume youth sports and other activities.
"To protect this progress, we need to use all the tools at our disposal," Huff added. "That’s why we are asking parents to make regular testing a priority for their families. Testing can help spot a single case early and prevent it from becoming many cases.”
MDH is recommending all youth who are returning to school, sports or extracurricular activities to get tested every two weeks through the end of the school year.
The department says getting tested for COVID regularly, in addition to other preventative measures like wearing masks and social distancing, is a key part of the state's plan to respond to the pandemic.
“Testing will continue to be a critical part of our COVID-19 response for as long as there are still cases in the state,” Huff said. “Our mitigation measures break down without adequate testing. Even as we continue to successfully vaccinate a growing number of people in our state, we also continue to expand our mitigation testing programs for child care providers and educators.”
The state's youth testing campaign, which began Wednesday, will include targeted outreach to families, health professionals, schools and youth organizations. The state has online resources available to make testing easier for families, it says.
To find a free community testing location in Minnesota, click here.