The State of Minnesota is expanding its free testing options as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise and the demand for testing increases.

Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday said the community testing sits in Mankato, Moorhead, St. Cloud and Winona will be open an additional day, allowing the sites to increase their weekly testing capacity by about 500 tests. 

That brings the maximum weekly capacity of testing per site to about 2,500, a news release said.

“Minnesotans deserve to have more no-cost COVID-19 testing options, and we’re stepping up to expand access to that testing across the state,” Walz said in a news release. “Testing for COVID-19 keeps our children safe in the classroom and provides peace of mind to parents and families. 

"Through the at-home testing program and community sites in cities around the state, Minnesotans have more opportunities to choose the option that is best for their families," he added.

Testing will be added on Sundays in Moorhead and Winona starting Oct. 17. The sites will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

At the Mankato and St. Cloud testing sites, testing will be added on Fridays starting Oct. 15. The sites will be open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday.  

Testing at community testing sites was up about 10% last week compared to the prior week, the release said. Minnesotans, especially since the start, have reported longer wait times for test results and rapid COVID tests being hard to find.

The state said it will continue to expand COVID-19 testing as it assesses current and projected testing needs. 

“With students back in school and activities moving inside as fall continues its arrival, testing is still vital to protecting our families from COVID-19,” Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said in a statement. “By expanding our robust, collaborative testing program, we have removed testing obstacles for families across the state.

"In addition to getting vaccinated, social distancing, masking, and staying home when sick, we know testing can help us slow the spread of the COVID-19 and limit its negative impacts in our communities," Malcolm added. 

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Adding an extra testing day to four community testing sites is the state's latest move to expand free COVID-19 testing in the state in an effort to better meet the demand for testing as the highly contagious delta variety drives up case numbers. 

Previously, the state in August and September opened four new community testing sites (Bloomington, Lino Lakes, Minneapolis and St. Paul). And last week, the state said it was adding a weekend testing day and doubling capacity at the Duluth community testing site, bringing the site's testing capacity to about 1,000 tests per day.

You can find find the locations and hours of all the state's community testing sites here. Walk-ins are welcome but you can also make an appointment here

Results are processed at the state's saliva lab in Oakdale, with results provided via email about 24 to 48 hours after the lab receives the testing sample.

Testing is free at the community testing sites; health insurance isn't required. 

Minnesotans are also encouraged to get the free COVID-19 vaccine if they haven't yet gotten one. You can find a vaccine provider here and here

Next Up

Gopher Hockey

Watch: No-call lifts Gophers to OT victory over St. Cloud State

A blatant hook marred a top-four battle in St. Cloud.

Ambulance hospital emergency

Driver killed after crashing into parked semi-trailer

The crash occurred on the 5800 block of University Avenue Northeast.

Mike Zimmer

Vikings-Panthers: 5 things you can count on happening

The Vikings will look to open things up in Carolina.

Tanner Morgan/Gopher Football

Morgan's resurgence, Nebraska's miscues help Gophers hold on

The Gophers quarterback threw a pair of touchdowns in a 30-23 victory.

Tina Smith

Sen. Tina Smith warns Dems she may not vote for budget bill if climate plan dropped

This comes amid a White House effort to get its "Build Back Better" plan passed.

Pixabay - emergency room ambulance hospital

St. Paul man dies six days after crash on I-94

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner has identified the man as David Rodney Hardaway.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

Double murder in northeastern Minnesota, suspect kills himself after chase

The suspect died at the scene from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

chaska school fight

Anti-masker involved in school board meeting fight charged with assault

It happened last month at an Eastern Carver County Schools hearing.

Marcus Foligno

Marcus Foligno throws hands, scores game-winning goal in Wild's opener

The Wild forward scored with 7.2 seconds left to beat Anaheim.


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.

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.

covid mail test

High demand leads to some shipping delays for home COVID tests

Minnesotans have ordered more than 130,000 tests since Nov. 12.

Flickr - COVID testing site sign

DECC in Duluth will double its COVID-19 testing capacity

The expansion comes amid a statewide increase in demand for COVID-19 testing.

covid-19 testing site sign

Here are the 4 free COVID-19 testing sites in MN for the week of Nov. 2

People don't need to have symptoms or insurance to get tested for free.

coronavirus, covid-19, drive-thru testing

Here are the 4 free COVID-19 testing sites in MN for the week of Oct. 19

People don't need to have symptoms or insurance to get tested for free.

covid-19 testing site sign

When should you get a COVID-19 test? Minnesota updates its recommendations

The hope is the new recommendations will help people determine if they need to get tested and what test is best for them.