Watch live: Gov. Tim Walz announces coronavirus 'testing breakthrough'

The governor is speaking live at 2 p.m.
Governor Tim Walz

Gov. Tim Walz has announced a strategy to test "all symptomatic people" for the coronavirus in Minnesota, as well as a plan to isolate confirmed cases and expand contact tracing.

The governor, with the aid of the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota, says the state now has the capacity to test up to 20,000 Minnesotans a day, which he says will help "control the pandemic and reopen Minnesota's society."

At a 2 p.m. press conference, Gov. Walz says this should allow Minnesota to test at a rate higher than anywhere else in the country and the possibly the world.

But he said that this expanded testing will not do its job unless Minnesotans continue to follow social distancing guidelines.

"When Minnesota faces a challenge, we rise up – together,” Governor Walz said. "I’m proud to partner with Minnesota’s innovative health care systems and leading research institutions to pioneer how states can begin to move forward amid COVID-19."

Describing it as a "breakthrough for rapid, widespread testing of COVID-19 in Minnesota," the partnership between the state, Mayo and U of M is designed to ensure everyone in Minnesota with symptoms of the coronavirus can access a test, compared to the current system where it's prioritized for the hospitalized, healthcare workers and those in congregate living settings.

It will be funded by $36 million from the COVID-19 Minnesota Fund, and will see 20,000 molecular (diagnostic) tests and 15,000 serology (antibody) tests available a day.

The Mayo and U of M will create a "central lab" to accommodate expanded testing, and a "virtual command center" that will coordinate with health systems across the state "to monitor daily testing needs and coordinate rapid responses to outbreaks."

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Department of Health, Mayo and U of M will expand its contact tracing in an effort to limit outbreaks by ensuring anyone linked to positive test cases are isolating for the required period.

"The partnership will help to identify and respond to emerging “hotspots” of infection," the announcement said. "They will collect data on prevalence, geographic distribution, and barriers to care for the virus, and they will conduct groundbreaking research on COVID-19 to assure that tests are applied according to the best emerging science."

There will also be "intensive testing" of vulnerable populations, including care home residents, the homeless, healthcare workers, communities of color, American Indian populations, and other critical workers.

Next Up

Kirk Cousins

There's something different about Kirk Cousins, but what is it?

Cousins's "swag" has fueled a hot start to the season.

Cameron Dantzler

Cameron Dantzler tweets out frustration over playing time

The second-year corner has been benched while Bashaud Breeland continues to struggle.

Pizabay pizza

Chaska Papa Murphy's to temporarily close due to worker shortage

The closure is "due to a lack of employees and applicants across the company," the manager wrote.

Hailey Anderson Cumberland WI police

Authorities find body, vehicle in search for missing WI woman

Hailey Anderson was supposed to be travelling to Hibbing, but never showed up.

KAT, Towns

Karl-Anthony Towns sounds off on Wolves' constant 'instability'

Gersson Rosas' firing was the latest in a string of problem situations the Wolves have been involved with.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Duluth man arrested after police chase in stolen pickup truck

He was driving a vehicle that had been reported stolen in North Dakota.

pixabay tractor farm

1 killed in crash between car and tractor in western MN

First responders arrived and found the vehicle off the roadway, in a cornfield.

Stallings surveillance footage - screengrab - crop

New video, body cam footage shows police beating prone Jaleel Stallings

Stallings, who was acquitted, said he fired on the unmarked van not knowing officers were inside.

Bloomington Wentworth scene  - 2021-09-27 - J Nelson 2

Body in dumpster leads to police chase with young child in car

A 911 call said they saw someone place a body into a dumpster outside a Bloomington apartment complex.

st. paul tap - crop

SUV driver crashes into bar patio, injuring woman; man hurt in related shooting

Two men were arguing on the patio prior to the incident, witnesses said.

bicycle cyclist bike

Cyclist critically injured in hit-and-run in Plymouth

Police are seeking the public's help in locating the driver who fled.

ambulance, crash

Second person dies after head-on crash in Anoka County

The crash injured three others, including a 4-year-old boy.


Governor Tim Walz

Watch live: Gov. Walz gives update on state's coronavirus response

He is speaking alongside several other state leaders and the Ecolab CEO.

Governor Tim Walz

Coronavirus: Gov. Walz to announce plan to increase testing

The governor has been eager to ramp up the state's testing.

Tim Walz modeling

Watch live: Gov. Tim Walz gives his latest coronavirus update

The governor is expected to address Minnesota's long-term care crisis.

Governor Tim Walz

Coronavirus: Gov. Walz to provide update in Thursday press conference

He is expected to announce an extended, but loosened Stay at Home order.