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Minnesota launches at-home COVID-19 saliva testing program

During the pilot stage, Minnesotans in two dozen counties or tribal nations will be able to order a saliva test online and take it in their own home.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

ST PAUL, Minnesota — On Thursday, the Minnesota Department of Health launched the pilot of the Covid-19 Test at Home saliva testing program. It will allow Minnesotans to order a saliva test online, take it in the comfort of their own home and then ship it to the state’s new saliva lab in Oakdale, Minnesota.

Currently the program is only available in two dozens counties or tribal nations across the state, though MDH said in a press release on Thursday that it will soon be available to all Minnesotans.

“The saliva testing program has made our testing strategy more resilient by offering a convenient method that further reduces the risk of exposure to COVID-19,” said Dan Huff, MDH assistant commissioner for health protection, in the press release. “We’re eager to make the Test at Home program available— the pilot will provide important information for how the program will work not just in our more populated areas, but more remote locations as well. We’ll use that information to make necessary adjustments before making the program available to all Minnesotans statewide, as soon as possible.”

Communities included in the pilot are:

  • Rock County
  • Kittson County
  • Le Sueur County
  • Beltrami County
  • Red Lake Nation
  • Wilkin County
  • Carver County
  • Nobles County
  • Wright County
  • Dakota County
  • Mower County
  • Becker County
  • Kandiyohi County
  • Crow Wing County
  • Cook County
  • Aitkin County
  • Steele County
  • Itasca County
  • Douglas County
  • Lyon County
  • Pine County
  • Otter Tail County
  • Swift County
  • Pennington County

The areas selected for the pilot represent geographically diverse areas of the state, with a focus on locations that do not currently have a saliva testing location or where community testing events have been limited.

Through the Test at Home program, Minnesotans can order a saliva test online to be shipped to their home. They then perform the test by spitting into a small tube, under the supervision of a health care professional through a video telehealth visit, and put the test in the mail.

This program is completely free to all Minnesotans who believe they need a COVID-19 test, regardless of symptoms or insurance. Though people will be asked about insurance, if they do not have coverage or if their plan only offers partial coverage, the state will cover the difference of the cost. 

Those interested in more information on the COVID-19 Test at Home program can visit MDH's website. Tests can also be ordered at that page.