COVID-19 Saliva Testing Site Opens in Winona
TJ Leverentz | Oct 14, 2020 AT 2:34 pm
(KWNO) A COVID-19 saliva testing site opened in Winona Wednesday morning.
The site, located near the DMV in the Winona mall, offers free COVID-19 saliva testing to Minnesotans whether or not they’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
It’s the only saliva testing site in Southeastern Minnesota and is staffed by 15 local workers. Shawn Baxley from Vault Labs, the company facilitating the testing, says the process takes 8 minutes and the lab can conduct as many as 1,000 tests per day.
The site offers testing Wed.-Fri. from noon to 6 p.m. and Sat. and Sun. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Officials say the turnaround time for results is estimated to be 2-3 days.
The site will operate until the end of the year, but could be around into 2021 if its gets more federal funding.
They ask those getting tested to bring insurance information. The state will cover the costs of tests for individuals who do not have insurance.
The tests aren't available for Wisconsin residents yet. Winona County Emergency Management Director Ben Klinger says the state is working on forging an agreement with Wisconsin to open the testing site to Wisconsin residents.
Klinger expects positive case numbers to go up as testing gets underway. “We’re hoping to catch those cases early and isolate and kind of level off the numbers through isolation,” Klinger said.
Winona County has added to its stable of contact tracers. Klinger says the county is collaborating with neighboring counties and state officials to be able to increase the number of contact tracers if there is a rise in positive cases.
COVID-19 swab testing is also available at Winona Health.