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Minnesota launches two new COVID testing sites as demand increases

With school starting and the State Fair in full swing, state health officials say demand for COVID tests are surging.

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — With demand surging again for COVID-19 tests, the Minnesota Department of Health launched a new free testing site in Bloomington on Monday at a former DMV location just west of I-35W. 

The state will open a second location on Tuesday at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul at 11 a.m. Both locations are described as "semi-permanent" testing sites.

"In addition to adding the Bloomington and Saint Paul sites, MDH continues to assess current and projected testing needs and will keep working to meet demand," the department said in a news release.

Midway through the first day of operations in Bloomington on Monday, site manager Detra Dixon with Vault Health said about 150 people had received tests. 

"Very busy," Dixon said. "Some are getting their kids tested before school, and others are here because they've been to the State Fair."

Dixon said the location will remain open as long as demand requires.

"Until everyone masks up and gets vaccinated," she said. "We'll be here for a little while, at least."

RELATED: State opens new free COVID-19 testing sites

Emily Overhaug went to the Bloomington site to get tested out of an abundance of caution. Her three children are too young to be eligible for the vaccine, and she said she recently was in an area with a lot of people.

"I'm vaccinated, but I don't want to be bringing anything home to them," Overhaug said. "I didn't think we would be back doing this again. I was hopeful it was all over. It's not as traumatic this time around, but, we'll just keep going and hopefully soon it will be over."

The Bloomington testing location, at 9930 Logan Ave. S, will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. In St. Paul, the Roy Wilkins Auditorium location will have those same hours Monday through Thursday, in addition to testing on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The state health department also announced it will move community testing sites in Mankato and St. Cloud to National Guard armories in each respective city. 

All locations offer COVID tests for free, regardless of insurance status. 

RELATED: Yes, plenty of people are getting vaccinated at the fair. Here's why.

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