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M Health Fairview is changing the coronavirus testing game

Not only are the air pressured booths taking coronavirus testing to a new level, they're helping save personal protective equipment.

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Many people are learning to reinvent themselves in one way or another, while navigating stay at home orders and partial business closures. 

This includes healthcare workers, like the team at M-Health Fairview who are changing the game when it comes to the way they test people for COVID-19. 

They've taking testing curbside, but it doesn't involve driving up in a car. Through a partnership with the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota comes what may look like a telephone booth but in all reality the walk up testing centers are serving a much greater purpose at five different locations across the metro.

"We have a total of nine booths in play right now. It takes about six to eight people to operate two booths between arriving patients, checking them in, bringing supplies and specimens in and out of the clinic," said Steven Endrud, Vice President of Operations for M-Health Fairview. 

Not only are the air pressured booths taking coronavirus testing to a new level, they helping save personal protective equipment. 

"This booth takes us from needing to wear gloves and a gown and a mask, face shield and disposing originally of all of that between patients... now we dispose much of that between patients to requiring that the tester wear a pair of gloves," said Endrud. 

"This is able to reserve the PPE for the people in the hospital that cannot be in the box," said Patient Care Supervisor, Molly Lindmeyer.

Eighty to 90 people are able to be tested at one booth a day, and leaders with M Health Fairview say they plan to add 11 more testing booths over the next two weeks and additional testing sites across the metro. 

"You are safe from the patient at all times and able to give the care that we want to give to the patients so our communities can get back out and about," said Lindmeyer. 

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The state of Minnesota has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

There is also a data portal online at mn.gov/covid19.