News release: State announces new COVID-19 testing site in Rochester

News Release
January 14, 2021

State announces new COVID-19 testing site in Rochester

Pop-up site will offer saliva testing to everyone

Today, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced a new temporary COVID-19 testing site in Olmsted County. Testing at this site will occur Friday, Jan. 22 through Saturday, Jan. 23 at the 318 Commons in Rochester. Appointments are strongly encouraged, but not required.

“Testing is a key component of our strategy to protect Minnesotans from COVID-19,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “Through a robust, collaborative statewide testing program, we have made great progress in removing obstacles to testing.  When combined with social distancing, masking, avoiding crowds and staying home when sick, testing can help us slow the spread of COVID-19 and bridge to the better days we know are coming.”

“Our COVID-19 testing strategy has been data-driven since day one with the goal of offering low-barrier testing for every Minnesotan who needs it. The sooner we identify positive cases, the sooner infected individuals can take steps to isolate and stop the spread of the virus,” Dan Huff, MDH assistant commissioner for health protection said.

“Our community testing strategy continues to expand access all across Minnesota and has already allowed the state to conduct more than half a million COVID-19 tests at community testing sites alone. This disease is spread by people who don’t even know they have it. We want people to get tested, even if they're asymptomatic.

"If you have been working outside the home, are a case contact, or a young adult or teenager, you should get tested. By providing more options, we make it more likely that people will get tested and help us stop the spread of the virus,” he said.

The Rochester site is a coordinated effort between the State of Minnesota, Olmsted County, University of Minnesota Rochester, and Vault Health.

"COVID-19 testing remains an important part of our Maroon and Gold Sunrise Plan,” said Chancellor Lori Carrell, University of Minnesota Rochester. “As we work toward a safe and healthy spring semester for all students, faculty and staff, the University of Minnesota Rochester is grateful to host a COVID-19 testing site."

As with all of the state’s community testing sites, testing at the site is offered at no cost to participants. Participants will be asked for their health insurance information so the state can bill their insurance company on their behalf. If a person is uninsured or if insurance doesn’t cover some or all of the cost, the state will cover the difference so testing remains open to all at no cost.

Testing is open to anyone who believes they need a COVID-19 test, with or without insurance. State guidance on who should get tested can be found on the Minnesota COVID-19 Response webpage, Who Should Get Tested?.

Those who arrive for a test should avoid eating, drinking, chewing, or smoking anything for at least 30 minutes before providing a sample. Once they arrive at the site, they will self-administer the test by salivating into a funnel attached to a small tube. Clinic staff will be available on-site to monitor the collection process.

Individuals seeking testing can register at Vault Health. Tests will be processed in Minnesota at the saliva lab in Oakdale run by Vault Health and Infinity Biologix (IBX). Results will be provided via email in approximately 48-72 hours.

Testing site location:
318 Commons, second floor
318 1st Ave SW
Rochester, MN 55904

Hours of operation:
Friday, Jan. 22-Saturday, Jan. 23
Noon to 6 p.m.


Minnesota Helpline:

For questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, call 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504.

Mental Health Crisis Line - Call: **CRISIS (**274747)