COVID-19 test collection at Minnesota National Guard sites may surpass goal

Memorial Day marked the last day of free COVID-19 testing put on by the Minnesota National Guard over the holiday weekend. (FOX 9)

After a large turnout, the Minnesota National Guard has concluded its free testing over the holiday weekend for anyone who wanted to know if they had COVID-19.

The goal was 2,000 people per day and while finalized totals were not available Monday, at some sites it looks like the National Guard doubled those projections. To meet the response, some sites increased their testing capacity.

Nick Schoonover was one of thousands of people who stopped by a Minnesota National Guard free COVID-19 testing site at the National Guard armory in northeast Minneapolis. He, like many who lined up this Memorial Day, wasn't showing any symptoms, but knows people in his group of friends who do have the virus and would rather be safe.

“Just want to make sure see where I’m at right now—I know it’s not 100% see where you are at—if you do want to go hang out with your parents or your friends or something, you can be a little bit more safe,” said Nick Schoonover of Minneapolis.

The Guard along with the Department of Health offered free testing at six locations across the state this long weekend. After Saturday's huge crowds and long lines, things moved better Sunday and Monday.

“I think really the key is this is a whole government effort,” said Major Scott Hawks of the Minnesota National Guard. “We work together with Minnesota Department of Health with the governor’s office and they helped put us on the track and gave us the tasking. Once we had the tasking, it was just accomplishing and assigning troops to that task and getting it done.”

People who showed up say they were surprised how quick and easy the nasal swab was and appreciated a place to go in case they've been exposed by co-workers or others in their inner circle.

“One of my co-workers tested positive,” said Marissa, who got tested. “They won’t tell us if we’ve been in contact with them or the last day that they worked—and I figured I would come down here just to make sure I’m not asymptomatic.”

People should receive their results in 48 to 72 hours.

Officials say right now there are no plans for another round of free testing, however, based on how many people showed up this weekend it's likely to happen again.