TWIN CITIES, MN — Minnesota health officials say they have completed more than half a million coronavirus tests and the state has reached the milestone of developing a daily capacity of 20,000 COVID-19 molecular tests.
Gov. Tim Walz says the milestone is thanks to Minnesota’s advanced COVID-19 testing program announced two months ago.
"We know when Minnesota comes together as one, we can achieve near-impossible tasks," Walz stated Monday. "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."
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 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.
The state has deployed this resource for numerous pop-up testing events, including Duluth, Moorhead, St. James, and Faribault, as well as in Mower County and in Minneapolis and Saint Paul following protests and large gatherings in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Mayo Clinic provided the courier infrastructure to bring specimens to labs for testing from anywhere in the state, and to deliver supplies, computers, and label printers directly to collection sites in order to streamline the entire process, according to a news release.
The University of Minnesota transformed their labs, previously used for research, into COVID-19 testing facilities.