ADVERTISEMENT

New Minnesota COVID-19 testing sites start opening Friday

January 6, 2022 GMT
FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2021 file photo, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz takes off his University of Minnesota cloth face mask to answer a question from a reporter during a news conference in St. Paul, Minn. Gov. Walz has tested positive for COVID-19, along with his wife and teenage son, the governor's office announced Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021. (Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via AP File)
FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2021 file photo, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz takes off his University of Minnesota cloth face mask to answer a question from a reporter during a news conference in St. Paul, Minn. Gov. Walz has tested positive for COVID-19, along with his wife and teenage son, the governor's office announced Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021. (Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via AP File)
FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2021 file photo, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz takes off his University of Minnesota cloth face mask to answer a question from a reporter during a news conference in St. Paul, Minn. Gov. Walz has tested positive for COVID-19, along with his wife and teenage son, the governor's office announced Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021. (Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via AP File)

ANOKA, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota’s newest COVID-19 community testing site will open at the National Guard Armory in Anoka on Friday, Gov. Tim Walz announced Thursday, while the Guard will help raise the capacity of a similar site in downtown St. Paul by 50%.

The moves to boost the state’s testing capacity amid the spike in omicron variant cases are building on the governor’s announcement on Tuesday that the Guard and Minnesota Department of Health would stand up three new community testing sites to deal with the surging demand for testing.

“It’s going to be a challenging three weeks or so but we’ve got Minnesota’s best on duty here,” Walz said during a visit to the Anoka facility. “We’ve got our public health officials across the state, we’ve got our private-sector partners going.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The Anoka Armory site will open at 11 a.m. Friday. A site at the armory in Cottage Grove will open next Thursday. The existing testing center at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul gained 50% more capacity as of Thursday — from 2,000 tests per day to 3,000 — thanks to support from the Guard.

While the sites accept walk-ins, Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm encouraged people to make appointments online.

The health department will open a new testing site in North Branch on Monday, officials announced earlier.