MN Gov. Walz announces more than half a million COVID-19 tests in the state

UC San Diego is planning to test its students, faculty and staff regularly for Covid-19 in fall

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WKBT) – Governor Tim Walz today announced the state has completed more than half a million COVID-19 tests and has reached daily capacity of 20,000 COVID-19 molecular tests.

“We know when Minnesota comes together as one, we can achieve near-impossible tasks,” said Governor Walz. “I am proud of the Minnesota Department of Health’s partnership with Mayo Clinic, the University of Minnesota, and our state’s health systems to expand our testing capacity, allow us to more accurately track the course of the infection, and keep all Minnesotans safe.”

“Thank you to the health care providers who have worked in partnership with our Administration to achieve this testing milestone,” said Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan. “Robust testing is critical to monitoring the spread of COVID-19. While there is still work to do to remove obstacles to testing for all Minnesotans, we have built a strong and collaborative statewide testing program that will help us keep all Minnesotans safe.”

“We can now provide testing for all Minnesotans who need it,” said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. “The testing command center allows us to monitor daily needs and coordinate rapid responses to outbreaks. Testing is a critical first step to preventing the spread of the infection.”

To date, the state has completed a total of 592,955 tests. As part of the state’s testing command center, the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota (U of M) are now able to provide additional testing capacity to more than 265 health care organizations across the state. When health care providers need more testing capacity than they have available at their local laboratories, or an outbreak emerges, the state initiative’s testing command center connects the provider with COVID-10 diagnostic testing through Mayo Clinic Laboratories or U of M labs.

“It was clear early in February that our lab capacity had the potential to serve the needs of Minnesota in what became the COVID pandemic,” said Tim Schacker, vice dean for research at the University’s Medical School. “I’m grateful to my faculty colleagues who quickly shifted their focus to develop the diagnostic tests so critical to managing our way through this health crisis.”