New Minnesota COVID-19 test sites begin to open on Friday


FILE – In this file photo from Jan. 26, 2021, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz takes off his University of Minnesota cloth face mask to answer a question from a reporter at a press conference in St. Paul, Minn. Governor Walz has tested positive for COVID-19, along with his wife and teenage son, the governor’s office announced on Tuesday, December 21, 2021. (Anthony Souffle / Star Tribune via AP File)Anthony Souffle / AP

ANOKA, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota’s newest COVID-19 community testing site will open at the National Guard Armory in Anoka on Friday, Gov. Tim Walz said Thursday, while the guard will help increase the capacity of a similar site to downtown St. Paul by 50%.

Measures to increase state’s testing capacity amid skyrocketing omicron variant cases build on governor’s announcement Tuesday that the Minnesota Guard and Department of Health would create three new testing sites communities to meet the growing demand for testing.

“It’s going to be a rough time for about three weeks, but we have the best Minnesota in service here,” Walz said during a visit to the Anoka facility. “We have our public health officials across the state, we have our private sector partners on the move.”

The Anoka Armory site will open at 11 a.m. Friday. A site at the Cottage Grove Armory will open next Thursday. The existing test center at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul gained 50% more capacity on Thursday – from 2,000 tests per day to 3,000 – thanks to support from the Guard.

While sites accept walk-in visits, Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm has encouraged people to book appointments online.

The health department will open a new testing site in the northern branch on Monday, officials said earlier.


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