Minnesota launches online program for home COVID testing

Starting March 29, in-state residents can have two rapid test kits (four tests total) shipped directly to their homes through an online ordering system.

ST PAUL, Minnesota – While the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have steadily declined in recent weeks, health officials say testing remains a priority to prevent the virus and its multiple variants from rising again .

The state of Minnesota wants residents to stay vigilant and is launching a new online program to deliver free rapid test kits, right to the front door of those who need them.

Beginning Tuesday, March 29, Minnesotans will be able to log into the state’s COVID website at mn.gov/covid19 and order two home test kits (a total of four tests) per household through an online ordering system. Gov. Tim Walz says the state has secured 500,000 test kits, adding that the program will be available until all test kits are ordered and shipped.

Walz says Minnesota will use this program as a model to provide better access to rapid COVID-19 testing in the coming months, adding that if the effort proves successful, the state will rely on him as part of the response. to future increases in cases.

“Our goal has always been to make sure that when Minnesotans need a test, they can get one quickly and easily,” Walz said in a statement. “Even though the number of cases is decreasing, it is important for Minnesotans to test for COVID-19 if they feel sick. That’s why we continue to work to make testing easily accessible – now and in the future.

Rapid home antigen tests, like the ones Minnesotans can start ordering on Tuesday, provide more flexibility for families in Minnesota who need to watch for symptoms of COVID-19. Tests can be performed at home and results are delivered in minutes, with no lab delivery required.

State and federal health officials are warning residents not to get complacent amid falling COVID numbers, and say testing is key to preventing major virus outbreaks. They recommend people use the tests if:

  • They show symptoms of the virus.
  • They had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
  • They are returning from international or domestic trips.
  • They attended a high-risk event.
  • They work in an environment that has regular and close contact with many people.

As the new program kicks off, the Department of Health will end Vault’s home testing effort on March 31. Minnesotans who have PCR Vault tests at home will be able to use them until they expire or until December 31, 2022, whichever comes first. first. The Vault program required sending a test for lab processing, which took days.

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Karen O. Fielding