The second site for COVID-19 saliva testing in Minnesota will open this Wednesday.
The testing facility, which is free to anyone who needs it regardless of insurance status, will open on Wednesday at the Winona Mall. It comes a few weeks after the first of the pilot sites opened in Duluth.
Since the Duluth site opened on Sept. 23, more than 7,000 people have been tested, with the state planning on opening a further eight sites in the coming weeks.
"The Winona Mall can serve as a regional hub for Minnesotans in the southeast corner of our state,” said Dan Huff, MDH assistant commissioner for health protection.
"This site offers access to those who live and work in Winona County, as well as the thousands of college students who live here. We know this site will increase access to testing among people who need it."
The sites are part of a wider strategy to roll out saliva testing across Minnesota to the point the state has the capacity to process 30,000 saliva tests a day, with residents able to request one and submit the tests via mail.
Gov. Tim Walz had aimed to have this up and running by early October, though it appears as though it'll take longer.
A spokesperson told BMTN this week that the state is piloting the mail order program with the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges, providing testing to all faculty and staff.
It also said that it expects a saliva test processing lab will be open in the coming weeks, though a timescale on when the tests will be available to all Minnesotans hasn't been set.
The Winona Mall saliva testing site at 1213 Gilmore Avenue will be open Wednesday through Friday, noon to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
It's open for walk-ins, but people are encouraged to make appointments through this site.
Saliva testing offers a more comfortable alternative to COVID-19 testing than that offered by the typical nasal swab PCR test.