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Free COVID-19 saliva testing site to open in Winona

It will be the second location in Minnesota that offers saliva testing for the virus.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

WINONA, Minn. — A saliva testing site for COVID-19 will open in Winona on Oct. 14. It will be the first in southern Minnesota and the second in the state, and will offer free saliva tests to anyone who feels they need to be tested. 

Testing will occur in the back of the Winona Mall, 1213 Gilmore Avenue, near the Department of Motor Vehicles, 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.

The site will be open five days a week, with the following hours:

  • Wednesday through Friday, noon to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Tests will be available to all Minnesotans, regardless of insurance or whether or not they are displaying symptoms of COVID-19. While people will be asked about their insurance, 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 to keep testing completely free. Results are typically provided via email within 48-72 hours.

Those who come for a test should avoid eating, drinking, chewing or smoking anything for at least 30 minutes before providing a sample. Upon arrival, people will self-administer the test, and clinic staff will be available on-site to monitor the collection process and ensure there is enough saliva to be tested.

This location is part of the Minnesota Department of Health's push to increase COVID-19 testing statewide. More like it are planned throughout the state, with the pilot site located in Duluth.

“We can’t let down our guard in our battle against COVID-19,” said MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm in a press release. “One of biggest areas of concern right now is the growing community spread and increase in cases throughout Greater Minnesota. As the weather moves gatherings indoors, the risk of transmission increases. Saliva testing offers Minnesotans another option for seeking out testing when they need it. 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.”