BROOKYLN PARK, MN — Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan Tuesday announced the expansion of the state’s saliva testing program for coronavirus, including a "semi-permanent" saliva testing site that will open on Oct. 20 in Brookyln Park.
"Widespread testing is critical to our state’s strategy to combat COVID-19," said Walz in a news release. "By increasing access to testing across Minnesota, these saliva testing sites will allow us to better track, understand, and fight the virus in our communities."
Testing has increased more than 65 percent since early September, and during that time the positivity rate has remained steady at an elevated level. According to Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm, this sustained high rate is a warning sign for the state.
In Brooklyn Park, the former Office Max building in the Starlite Center will host the saliva testing site. It will be the first saliva testing site to open in the metro. Due to expected demand, it will be open seven days a week initially.
"Ensuring our community has accessible health services is a top priority in Brooklyn Park right now," said Brooklyn Park Mayor Jeffrey Lunde. "Thank you to the state and the county for making this COVID-19 testing site possible so we can ensure our residents and all Minnesotans stay safe."
Each semi-permanent test site employs 10-20 local Minnesotans who operate the site and supervise collection of saliva samples.