Crowds line up for free COVID-19 testing at sites across Minnesota

A person sits on the sidewalk in line.
People sit on the sidewalk as they wait in line for free COVID-19 testing at the National Guard Armory in Minneapolis on Saturday. People waited 2 to 3 hours for a test.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Free COVID-19 testing will continue Sunday and Monday at six National Guard armories across Minnesota.

It started on Saturday in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, Moorhead, St. James and Faribault.

At the Minneapolis location, there was a line when testing started Saturday morning with wait times estimated at 2 to 3 hours. National Guard officials reported later Saturday that wait times had decreased.

"We are glad to see” the strong turnout, state Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said at a Saturday afternoon news conference. “I know that people are waiting in lines and there's an awful lot of demand there — and we're learning a lot from today's events that will help us to be even better at getting testing out into the community."

Officials said there's no need for insurance or an appointment. The walk-up testing is open to anyone, though they're especially encouraging people who have symptoms or had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case to get tested.

The nasal swab tests will be offered Sunday and Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or until tests run out. There's the capacity to collect about 2,000 samples a day across all six sites.

Find more details on testing locations and procedures here.

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