COVID-19 saliva testing site opens in Winona, Minnesota

A man takes a COVID-19 saliva test in Minnesota. (FOX 9)

The Minnesota Department of Health opened the state’s second semi-permanent COVID-19 saliva testing site in Winona at the Winona Mall.

The doors had barely opened Wednesday when the first testing patients arrived. The setup is not fancy, but functional. Just tables and testing kits that require a little bit of your spit.

For Charlie Andrinz of Goodview, it takes just a little patience.

“It’s just a matter of getting enough saliva to fill up the container, is all,” said Andrinz.

It requires a little more than two milliliters of saliva for the PCR test. The results are emailed to the patient within 24 to 48 hours of the kit getting to the lab.

“We know that quick results means quick isolation, it means suppression of the disease, but it also means how for some people who get tested out of curiosity that they can go about their life,” said Meredith Vadis, the chief operating officer for COVID testing in Minnesota.

In this corner of the state, it also means tracking and isolating the disease so businesses and schools can stay open.

“I think that the data and the information that we get from a site like this can be incredibly helpful both locally and state wide we can again, keep our communities and say and opened up in a safe and responsible manner,” said Sen. Jeremy Miller (R-Winona).

The goal is to open 10 of these saliva testing sites across the state - five in the Twin Cities metro and another five in greater Minnesota. It’s an effort to make it easier for people to test without having to wait at their doctor’s office. The state’s first site opened last month in Duluth.

“For a number of reasons people come our way, and we are welcoming them and encouraging them to continue to get tested,” said Vadis.

People are asked to sign up ahead of time on the Department of Health’s website, but they do accept walk-ins.

Those participating asked to bring your health insurance card, and a smartphone to scan the QR code at your table to begin the test. Insurance, however, is not required. The is free whether or not you have insurance, according to MDH. For more information, click here.