COVID-19 saliva testing site to open Friday in Mankato, Minnesota

Minnesota announced it will open a COVID-19 saliva testing site Friday in Mankato. It will be the fifth saliva testing location in the state, offering free tests to any Minnesotan who believes they need to be tested.

Testing will be located at the former Gander Mountain at 1940 Adams Street in Mankato. It will be open Friday through Tuesday, noon to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.

Appointments for the Mankato location can be made through the Vault Health registration site.

The state opened the first saliva testing site in Duluth on Sept. 23. Since then, saliva testing locations have opened in Winona, Moorhead, and Brooklyn Park; state officials plan to open as many as five more across the state in coming weeks. Those tests will be processed at the new saliva lab in Oakdale, and results will be provided via email within 24-48 hours.

Testing is free to all Minnesotans who believe they need a COVID-19 test, including those who are asymptomatic. Participants will be asked for their health insurance information so the state can bill their insurance company on their behalf. If a person is uninsured or for any reason insurance does not cover some or all of the cost, the state will cover the difference so testing remains completely free to everyone.

According to MDH, the saliva test has the same effectiveness rate as the traditional nasal swab and is more comfortable to take. Those who come for a test should avoid eating, drinking, chewing, or smoking anything for at least 30 minutes before providing a sample. Once they arrive at the site, they will self-administer the test by spitting into a funnel attached to a small tube. Clinic staff will be available on-site to monitor the collection process and ensure there is enough saliva to be tested.