Minnesotans line up to receive free COVID-19 tests from the National Guard

Minnesotans wait in long lines outside a free COVID-19 testing site set up during Memorial Day weekend.

Thousands of Minnesotans lined up Saturday to receive free COVID-19 tests at various sites across the state.

Some people waited for hours to get the free tests. Dean Evans and his wife Janice were closer to the front of the line and still waited two hours. They wanted to know if they have or perhaps had the virus.

“I don’t have adjectives to say how shameful it is that we have to stand here for hours and hours on a holiday weekend along with everyone else for a nasal swab,” said Dean Evans.

The couple has been social distancing for months now. They stay at home, alone, and only make necessary trips out of the house.

“The only time we go out is for groceries and that is pretty much every two and a half weeks. Other than that, we’re home,” Janice Evans said.

The Evans are among the many that are just curious to see if they have the virus after having symptoms a couple of weeks ago.

According to the Minnesota National Guard, a good majority of the people that turned out Saturday for the free tests wanted to know the same.

“We haven’t had a lot of symptomatic patients,” said Dean Stulz, the deputy state surgeon for the Minnesota Army National Guard.

Testing sites from Duluth to St. James all tested anyone willing to wait. Roughly 6,000 kits are available at the various sites over the course of three days, ending Monday.

“I think we’re trying to get a real good idea in the community of what the incident rate is and what the measures have been taken and how long some of that needs to be continued and what needs to change,” Stulz said.

The goal is the make the tests available to anyone so state officials can get a better idea of the virus’ impacts on communities.