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Who should get tested?

The value of testing is to be able to identify as quickly as possible individuals who are COVID positive. To that end, Minnesota is dedicated to providing no-barrier access to COVID-19 testing for all who need it. Use the criteria below to find out if that includes you. 

1) Anyone with symptoms should seek out testing. 
  • 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 six 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. 
  • If you had close contact with a person with COVID-19, you need to stay home and away from others (quarantine). COVID-19 can take up to 14 days to make you sick, and some people with COVID-19 never feel sick, so you need to separate yourself from others so you don’t spread the virus without knowing it. 
  • The safest option is to stay home and away from others for 14 days. However, updated guidance from the CDC provides certain situations where you may consider ending your quarantine sooner. If you end your quarantine before 14 days, you must still watch for symptoms through day 14 , and continue to wear a mask and social distance from others.
  • You may consider being around others and ending your quarantine after ten days only if:
    • You do not have any symptoms.
    • No one in your home has COVID-19, and you do not live in a building with other people, where it’s hard to stay away from others and easy to spread the virus to multiple people, like a long-term care facility.
  • You may consider being around others and ending your quarantine after seven days only if:
    • You do not have any symptoms.
    • No one in your home has COVID-19, and you do not live in a building where it’s hard to stay away from others, like a long-term care facility.
    • If you get tested for COVID-19 at least five full days after you had close contact with someone with COVID-19, and the test is negative. You must get a PCR test, not an antigen or antibody/blood test.
    • All tests offered at state community testing sites are PCR tests. Visit COVID-19 Community Testing Sites to find a location near you and make an appointment. 
  • 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 choose to visit a Community Testing Site, it's best to make an appointment ahead of time. 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 has attended a one-time, high-risk activity, such as a large gathering or an indoor event with people you do not live with.  
  • If you start to feel sick, get tested right away.
  • If you do not feel sick, get a COVID-19 test at least five days after the event. If the test is negative and you are worried you might have been close to someone with COVID-19 (exposed), get another test 12-14 days after the event, even if you do not feel sick. 
4) Anyone who is actively engaged with people outside of their household or is working at places that remain open during the pandemic. This includes critical infrastructure, first responders, health care, retail, etc.
  • If you do not have symptoms and you have not been told you have been exposed to COVID-19, you are still at risk given how quickly the virus is spreading.
  • 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. 
  • The Test at Home program may also be a good option for those getting tested as part of a screening strategy. Ask your employer about how often you need to be tested. 
5) Anyone who is returning to a classroom or campus should get tested.
  • This includes children returning to school, youth sports or extra curricular activities, as well as college and trade-school students returning to classes or campus.
  • Elementary school educators and school staff whose schools have returned to an in-person or hybrid learning model are eligible to participate in testing during their school's bi-monthly testing event.
  • Child care workers whose programs are participating in on-site testing through the state are also eligible to get tested. 

Find Testing Locations

Which test is right for me?

These tests check whether you have COVID-19 right now and can spread it to others. 


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.

Sign-up for COVID-19 email updates

These updates include announcements of new community testing events and locations.

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