State of Minnesota Gives Out Over 600,000 COVID-19 Tests
ST. PAUL, Minn.– In late May, Minnesota Governor Walz announced a partnership with two of the state’s top healthcare providers to help increase COVID-19 testing capacity.
The ambitious partnership including the University of Minnesota, the Mayo Clinic, and the state announced that they have tested over 600,000 people after ramping up their efforts in late May.
“This puts us in a position that many states do not have,” said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm.
Governor Tim Walz wanted to have reached two milestones by early June.
The first was to be able to test over 10 percent of the state’s population. The second was to reach a daily capacity of testing over 10,000 people. Currently, the daily average is over 11,000 tests per day with the capacity to test 20,000.
Health experts say going forward, it will help them get a better understanding of the virus in Minnesota, create more accessibility for testing, and build up a contact tracing system.
While it did take a few weeks longer than he hoped, the governor says this is a huge step in the state’s fight against COVID-19.
“Minnesota’s approach to this is gives us a better capacity to weather over the long haul and continue to have more things operating and more people doing the things they want to do,” said Walz.
Other states have seen increases in COVID-19 cases but Minnesota has been relatively steady. However, state health officials expect with more travel and restrictions loosening, that number is likely to go up.
“What we are seeing in case counts today reflect exposures that happened two to three weeks ago,” said Malcolm. “So we expect our daily numbers to continue to fluctuate and frankly probably go up a bit as we see the results of increasing interaction.”
The increased number of tests allows the state to be able to distribute testing resources around Minnesota. This gives them the ability to better handle whatever COVID problem comes next.
“Any healthcare system that needs to test people in the geography, they can do that with confidence that if they get a surge in demand the university and the mayo clinic can help them get through that,” said Dr. William Morice, President of Mayo Clinic Labs.
Walz said the idea of a statewide mandate to wear a mask is being discussed but no official announcement has been made.