University of Minnesota gives each student 1 saliva COVID-19 test

The University of Minnesota says a new program will make one saliva test available for every student to use at their own discretion if they are concerned about being exposed to the virus.

Earlier this month, the Board of Regents approved spending $8.5 million to buy 66,000 COVID-19 saliva tests from Vault Health.

Right now, the Twin Cities campus is in phase three of its Maroon and Gold Sunrise Plan, with a mix of online and in-person classes and students are allowed to visit all on-campus facilities as well as off-campus businesses, but they are supposed to be back in their residence halls by midnight.

As of last Friday, Boynton Health had administered just over 4,700 COVID-19 tests with 344 coming back positive and a positive rate of 7.3 percent.

The saliva testing program was originally only available to faculty and staff at the university through the state of Minnesota, with the costs being covered by the Cares Act. University officials say they decided to pick up the tab for students to get at-home saliva tests, too, so a big part of the community isn’t left out.