24 Minnesota counties to pilot at-home saliva COVID-19 tests

A new COVID-19 saliva testing lab opened in Oakdale, Minnesota. (FOX 9)

Residents of 24 Minnesota counties can now order saliva COVID-19 tests as part of a pilot program, the Department of Health announced Thursday.

The COVID-19 Test at Home saliva program will allow those Minnesotans to perform the free tests at home and send them back for processing, the state said Thursday.

Those testing at home will spit into the tube under supervision of a health care professional through a telehealth visit. Once it’s completed, the test will be shipped back to the state’s saliva lab in Oakdale, Minnesota, which is scheduled to open Friday. The results will be available within 24-48 hours.

The counties chosen for the pilot project are “geographically diverse,” the Department of Health says. Places without saliva testing locations were prioritized. Duluth, Winona, Moorhead and Brooklyn Park currently have sites open. Mankato will open a site Friday and five more will follow in the coming weeks.

“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. “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.”

In Wilkin County, the closest free testing site is 50 miles away. Wilkin County Public Health Director Debra Jacobs said the new testing option will help remove testing barriers currently keeping residents from getting tested.

For more information on the COVID-19 Test at Home program, and to order a test, please visit COVID-19 Test at Home.

The pilot Test at Home program is available to residents of:

  • 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