Are you a Minnesotan between the ages of 18 and 35? If so, Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has a message for you: Please get tested for COVID-19.
With new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths skyrocketing, Gov. Tim Walz rolled out new measures this week to reduce the spread of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that are specifically aimed at younger adults. Health officials say the virus is being disproportionately spread by 18- to 35-year-olds, many of whom may be asymptomatic and unaware they are infected and contagious. So they are encouraging all Minnesotans in that age group to get tested as soon as possible.
"If you're young and asymptomatic, you can spread it to others," said MDH assistant commissioner Dan Huff. "If you're coming home from college or coming home for the holidays for Thanksgiving, get tested before you come home. Everyone should get tested before they come home to visit relatives."
Health officials are working to make it easier than ever to get a COVID-19 test. On Monday, MDH opened a free saliva-testing center at the Minneapolis Convention Center and another Thursday at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, in addition to eight other sites across Minnesota that are open now or soon to open. Tests are available to anyone who wants one and each center is open seven days a week, except for holidays.
MDH also unveiled a new at-home testing program Thursday. Minnesotans can order a free saliva test that they can perform at home while being observed by a health worker over a Zoom call. Once completed, the sample is mailed to a laboratory and results should be received by e-mail within 24 to 48 hours.
"It's important that all of us in Minnesota take advantage of these many testing opportunities," Huff said.
Have questions about COVID-19 testing in Minnesota? Check out our guide.
Star Tribune staff writer Janet Moore contributed reporting to this article.