JANUARY 13, 2022 – COVID-19 testing is key to managing the spread of Omicron. A test can tell if you’re infectious even if you don’t have symptoms – so you can take precautions right away and protect others.
Omicron is spreading so fast that the need for COVID tests is skyrocketing. You have several options.
Please do NOT come to the Emergency Department for a COVID test unless you have severe symptoms: trouble breathing, very high fever, pain in chest or belly, severe vomiting or dehydration.
Minnesota runs community testing sites across the state. Tests are free. The state’s database includes health provider locations too, and you can search by ZIP code.
Other options for testing:
- Pharmacy: Schedule an appointment. Some will test via drive-through. Free.
- At home: Buy a test kit online or at a pharmacy. Follow test kit instructions exactly. Results in 15 minutes. Cost is $14-$24 for two tests. (Plans are in the works to make this free.)
- Your primary care clinic: Schedule an appointment. You might not get an appointment for several days: demand is high, and capacity is limited. NH+C clinics prioritize pre-surgery patients, current clinic patients with symptoms, and healthcare staff. Result time varies. No cost. (Fees are covered by insurance or government funding.)
- By mail: The state and Vault Medical Services mail you an at-home saliva test kit, you mail back a saliva sample and get results via email in about 2-4 days. Free.
Anyone experiencing any COVID symptom, whether vaccinated or not, should get tested. Some symptoms can seem like a cold, flu or even allergies. Don’t dismiss them.
No symptoms? Get tested when you:
- Plan to spend time with people outside your household
- Are traveling (coming + going)
- Attended a high-risk event (sporting event, concert, large indoor gathering)
- Have close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19
- Aren’t fully vaccinated and work in close contact with a lot of people
- Aren’t fully vaccinated and go to childcare, school, sports or extracurricular activities
- Have an immunocompromising condition (even if fully vaccinated)
- Were asked to, by a health care provider or health department
- Think or worry that you might have COVID-19
Being vaccinated and boosted is your best protection against getting or spreading COVID. It's not too late to get vaccinated. And it's free. Find vaccination options at the state's website mn.gov/covid19.