In distinct shift, Walz says COVID-19 is close to ‘endemic’
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s first term will be defined partly by his response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, as his re-election looms, he’s reframing the virus as less of an immediate threat.
(FOX 9) – Two metro area COVID-19 testing sites will consolidate into one new location as the demand for testing continues to decrease more than two years into the start of the pandemic.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced it is opening a new COVID-19 community testing location in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul, and will close two existing testing sites as part of the state’s ongoing work to adjust testing resources. According to the announcement, May 12 will be the last day of testing at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium in downtown St. Paul, and May 13 will be the last day of testing at the Stillwater Armory.
The new Midway testing site – located in the former Herberger’s at 1400 University Avenue West – will open May 16 and offer rapid antigen testing. The location will be able to conduct up to 5,000 tests per day, and is located near multiple transit options with ample parking for visitors.
“Testing remains an important tool for protecting ourselves and others from COVID-19,” Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said in a statement. “As this latest announcement shows, we are continuing to work with community partners to adapt the testing resources to fit the needs and preferences of Minnesotans.”
In late-March, Governor Tim Walz had declared the pandemic caused by COVID-19 was transitioning to and endemic phase.
Rapid testing available
Minnesotans can still order two sets of two rapid tests through the state and federal government.
Food banks, local public health agencies, community groups and other community health organizations may also have free tests available.
Anyone can walk in or schedule an appointment for a test at one of the state’s free COVID-19 community testing sites.
Costs for over-the-counter, at-home COVID-19 tests are now required to be covered by health plans offered by Medicare, insurance companies and employers.