The State of Minnesota opened a saliva testing site Oct. 14 at the Winona Mall. This testing site is first in southern Minnesota and the second in the state, offering free saliva tests to any Minnesotan who believes they need to be tested.

Increased access to testing and identifying positive cases as early as possible is a critical way to slow the spread of COVID-19, and to keep schools and the economy as open as possible.

The state opened the first saliva testing site in Duluth on Sept. 23. Since opening, more than 7,000 people have been tested. State officials plan to open as many as eight more sites across the state in coming weeks.

The Winona Mall site will be open five days a week, Wednesday through Friday, noon to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The testing site is in the back of the Winona Mall, 1213 Gilmore Ave., near the Department of Motor Vehicles (southwest corner), facing Highway 61. The entrance is on the outside of the mall. While it is open to walk-ins, people are encouraged to make an appointment if they are able, to prevent crowding and long lines. Appointments can be made through the COVID-19 Community Saliva Testing webpage.

Testing is free to all Minnesotans who believe they need a COVID-19 test, including those who do not have symptoms. While they will be asked about their insurance, this is so the state can bill the insurance company. If a person is uninsured or for any reason insurance does not cover some or all of the cost, the state will cover the difference, so testing remains completely free to everyone. Results are typically provided via email within 48 to 72 hours.

Those who come for a test should avoid eating, drinking, chewing, or smoking anything for at least 30 minutes before providing a sample. Once they arrive at the site, they will self-administer the test by spitting into a funnel attached to a small tube. Clinic staff will be available on site to monitor the process.

For more information about the saliva testing site in Winona, please visit COVID-19 Community Saliva Testing.

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