Minnesota to open 10 COVID-19 saliva testing sites

Minnesota will soon have 10 COVID-19 saliva testing sites open, Gov. Tim Walz says.  

Walz joined the Minnesota Department of Health’s briefing Tuesday, where he said new saliva testing sites are opening in Winona and Moorhead this week and Brooklyn Park next week. This is in addition to the saliva testing site that opened last month in Duluth

The state is currently finalizing plans for six additional sites, four of which will be in the Twin Cities metro and two will be in greater Minnesota, for a total of 10 sites across the state, said Assistant Health Commissioner Dan Huff. 

RELATED: Minnesota to get new COVID-19 saliva testing lab that will double state's testing capacity 

Minnesota is also starting a pilot program for at-home COVID-19 testing. Test kits will be sent to a person’s home, returned and then processed at a new facility in Oakdale. The pilot program will launch in the next few weeks. 

Huff said COVID-19 testing has increased in Minnesota by more than 65% since early September, but the number of cases are now growing faster than testing. 

"Saliva testing allows us to continue to grow and diversify our testing capacity to meet this demand," he said. 

Minnesota will be able to process 60,000 tests a day once the saliva test sites and at-home testing is fully running, according to health officials. Right now, the state can process about 30,000 tests at day at most. 

MDH reported 1,150 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday out of 19,444 completed tests. To date, the state has processed more than 2.3 million tests and more than 1.6 million people in Minnesota have been tested for the coronavirus.