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Who should get tested?

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Minnesota is dedicated to providing no-barrier access to COVID-19 testing for all who need it. As we continue to experience growing demand for testing, we ask people to make a plan now, by reviewing the recommendations on who needs to be tested, when to be tested, and which option may be best. The value of testing is to be able to identify as quickly as possible individuals who are COVID positive - we encourage people to evaluate whether it is necessary to receive a test using the criteria below to ensure we can maintain the fastest turnaround time. 

Who should get tested?

1) Anyone with symptoms should seek out testing immediately. 
  • Stay home when you are sick, whether you seek out testing or not. If you leave your home to get a test, wear a mask and stay 6 feet away from other people. The COVID-19 Test at Home program may be your best option for getting tested in the comfort of your own home.
  • If you have moderate to severe symptoms, do not visit a COVID-19 Community Testing Site. Call your doctor or other health care provider or go to the hospital.
2) Anyone who was exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 should get tested. 
  • It’s best to get tested at least 5 days after the last time you were close to the person with COVID-19. If you get tested too soon, the test may not be able to detect the virus. 
  • If you do contract the virus, it can take several days for it to be detectable in your system or for you to develop symptoms. That’s why you will need to stay home for 14 days after your last contact with the person who has COVID-19, whether you have symptoms or not. If you follow recommendations and get tested at least 5 days after the last time you were close to the person, and you receive a negative result, you must still quarantine. Even with a negative result AND no symptoms, you must still quarantine for 14 days.   
  • The COVID-19 Test at Home program may be your best option for getting tested, particularly if you learn about exposure early in the 14-day window. 
  • If you would prefer to visit a Community Testing Site, make an appointment. If the site nearest you has no available appointments on the day you’re looking to get tested, either look at a later date or try finding a testing location a little farther away. 
3) Anyone who is still working at places that remain open during Dial Back, Minnesota, as part of a screening testing strategy. This includes critical infrastructure, first responders, health care, retail, schools, child care, etc.... 
  • If you do not have symptoms and you have not been notified of exposure, you are still at risk given how quickly the virus is spreading. 
  • Make a plan to get tested at least once before December 18, 2020. If possible, get tested once near the beginning of the four-week period and once again near the end of the four-week period. 
  • We urge you to make an appointment at a Community Testing Site. Plan ahead to find an available appointment, even if that includes looking at a testing location a little farther away. 

Tips for Making a Plan

  • While testing sites remain open for walk-ins, we strongly encourage people to make an appointment and only use the walk-in option if you need a test today. Too many people coming without an appointment can create lines and increase potential for unsafe in-person gatherings.
  • Testing sites in Greater Minnesota and outer ring suburbs generally have more appointment availability than sites in the core metro. Look at testing sites near you to find one with available appointments.
  • Make sure you know what to do while you wait for your test to arrive in the mail and after you’ve been tested. Visit “I got Tested - Now What” for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 Testing

What To Do If You Are Sick

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should:

  • Stay home.
  • Wash your hands often. 
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes. 
  • Avoid sharing personal household items like dishes, towels, bedding, etc. 
  • Clean surfaces that you touch often.

When To Seek Medical Attention

If your illness is getting worse or you notice any of these emergency warning signs, call your health care provider right away. Emergency warning signs can include:

  • Trouble breathing. 
  • Ongoing pain or pressure in the chest. 
  • New confusion or not being able to wake up. 
  • Bluish lips or face. 

Call your doctor or clinic before going in. Tell them about your symptoms and they will give you instructions to help protect you and other patients.

Learn More

Learn more about COVID-19 from the Minnesota Department of Health.

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