The state of Minnesota is launching a new program where Minnesotans can order free rapid COVID-19 tests that will be delivered to their homes.
There are 500,000 rapid antigen test kits in the program (each test kit has two tests). Minnesotans can order up to two test kits per household on this website starting March 29, and the program will be available until all tests are gone.
“Our goal has always been to ensure that when Minnesotans need a test, they can get one quickly and easily,” Gov. Tim Walz said in a news release. “Even as case numbers decline, it’s important that Minnesotans test for COVID-19 if they are feeling sick. That’s why we’re continuing to work to make tests easily accessible – now and in the future.”
If this program is successful, the State of Minnesota will use it as part of its response to future COVID case surges, the release said.
With the launch of this new program, Minnesota will end its at-home PCR testing program through Vault Health on Thursday, March 31. (Those who still have Vault at-home tests have until they expire or Dec. 31, whichever is first, to use them.) A news release says the demand for the Vault tests has declined, with Vault delivering around 1,400 tests last week compared to 16,000 per week in mid-January.
Rapid at-home antigen tests, which are part of this new program, provide more flexibility because they can be done at home and people can get results within minutes without having to send the sample to a lab, the state says.
The state's new program also comes as federal funding for free COVID-19 tests is being allowed to expire, with President Biden criticizing Congress for not approving new funding. This means people who are uninsured have had to pay to get tested for COVID-19 at some testing locations nationwide.
“COVID-19 testing remains a key tool for Minnesotans,” Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said. “Even during times of lower community transmission, there are plenty of reasons a person might want to know whether they are infected and a potential risk to others around them.
"We are working hard to make this testing as easy and barrier-free as possible, and at-home testing has clearly become a preferred option for many Minnesotans," she added. "This program helps Minnesotans access this tool in the manner they want.”
In addition to the new at-home test program, Minnesotans can order free COVID-19 rapid at-home tests via the federal government online here. Or you can walk-in or make an appointment at the state's free COVID-19 community testing sites. You can also find testing locations in Minnesota here.