IRON RANGE — The return of students to in-person learning, combined with the rising number of new COVID-19 cases, has greatly increased the demand for COVID-19 testing. St. Louis County Public Health is working with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to increase the availability of walk-in saliva tests, particularly on the Iron Range.
Free saliva tests are now available on the following days at the following locations and will continue until further notice:
• Mondays, 1 – 5 p.m., Eveleth Auditorium,
421 Jackson St., Eveleth
• Tuesdays, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m., Iron Trail Motors Event Center, 919 6th St. S., Virginia
• Fridays, 12 – 4 p.m., St. Louis County
Government Services Center, 201 S. 3rd
“We are hearing numerous concerns from people about how difficult it has been to access COVID tests the last few weeks,” said Amy Westbrook, St. Louis County Public Health division director. “With hospitals and clinics, pharmacies, my team in public health—we’re pretty much all at capacity, so it takes some coordination to redirect resources. We’re grateful that people are doing the right thing and seeking out testing, and we want to make it as easy as possible for them to do that.”
Other options for COVID-19 tests include contacting your medical provider or pharmacy for an appointment, or looking for other COVID-19 testing locations in the area, which can be found online at: www.mn.gov/ covid19/get-tested. People also may order a free Vault saliva test-at-home kit at www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/ testsites/athome.html.
People should not go to a hospital emergency department or urgent care for only a COVID test.
“We encourage people to have a plan for getting tested and to recognize that there isn’t a quick solution to avoid quarantine,” said Westbrook. “Order a test-at-home kit now so that you have it on hand, or know where you can call or go for an appointment. If an unvaccinated person is a close contact of a confirmed case, it is recommended to wait a minimum of three to five to get tested, and then expect another 24-48 hours for results to come back.”
People also should be aware of the difference between test types available and in what instances they work best. Antigen tests, the rapid tests that many people are seeking for the quick result, are in short supply and are recommended for people who are already symptomatic. PCR tests, which include both nasal swab and saliva tests, are considered the gold standard for accuracy and are recommended for anyone regardless if they have symptoms. St. Louis County Public Health has information online about testing, when to get tested, and what to do while waiting for a test result, at www.stlouiscountymn.gov/covid19.