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When you should get a COVID-19 test: MDH offers new guidelines

If you're not fully vaccinated, there are a lot of scenarios in which you should get a test.

It is officially summer in Minnesota. People are traveling, spending time with friends and family, and enjoying the warm weather. Despite the widespread availability of vaccines, COVID-19 still looms, with the continued spread of the Delta variant a particular concern.

With the situation having changed significantly in recent months, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Wednesday released new COVID-19 testing guidance for the summer. These guidelines explain who should get tested and when, taking into account vaccination status.

The bottom line: If you're not fully vaccinated, it's recommended you get a COVID test after a handful of different activities. But those who are fully vaccinated aren't completely off the hook.

Have COVID-19 symptoms? Get a test.

Anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms should get a COVID test. It doesn't matter if they are or are not vaccinated. 

While rare and often less serious, "breakthrough" cases of COVID-19 in vaccinated individuals are still possible.

Related: 10 Minnesota counties have now hit 70% adult vaccination rate

Not fully vaccinated? Here's when to get tested.

MDH's updated guidance outlines a number of scenarios in which an unvaccinated person should get tested. That includes getting a COVID-19 test:

  • If you come into contact with someone who has COVID-19, preferably five to seven days after exposure
  • Every two weeks if you are frequently in close contact with people or children outside of your household, such as for work or social activities, or at events where people can't social distance
  • After traveling within the U.S.

Other circumstances

The health department highlights a few other situations where people should get tested.

  • Vaccinated or not, anyone who travelled internationally should get a COVID-19 test upon returning
  • Health care workers should get a test after any travel, because they work with vulnerable people
  • Anyone whose doctor recommends they get a test, particularly those who have compromised immune systems
  • In the case of a cluster or outbreak, specific guidance might be given to people

Related: Klobuchar asks CDC, TSA to potentially update face mask travel rules

MDH reported 81 new cases of COVID-19 in the state Wednesday, out of 9,098 completed tests. More than 10.3 million COVID-19 tests have been administered in Minnesota.

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