no-cost to Cook County residents
COOK COUNTY, MINNESOTA ~~~~~~ October 23, 2020 (LSN) The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) today announced a pilot of the COVID-19 Test at Home saliva program. Beginning this week, Minnesotans in two dozen counties or tribal nations will be able to order a saliva test online, to collect in the comfort of their own home, free of charge. Cook County is among those areas that the state has selected to participate. This initiative is part of statewide push to make testing available to any Minnesotan who believes they need to be tested. It will soon be available to all Minnesotans.
Places selected for the initial pilot represent geographically diverse areas of the state, prioritizing locations that do not currently have a saliva testing location or where community testing events have been limited.
Through the mail order program, Minnesotans can order a saliva test online to be shipped to their home. They then collect their test specimen by spitting into a small tube, under the supervision of a health care professional through a video telehealth visit. Once completed, the specimen is shipped to the state’s new saliva lab in Oakdale, Minnesota, where results are then emailed to the person in 24-48 hours.
Participants will be asked for their health insurance information so the state can bill their insurance company on their behalf. If a person is uninsured or for any reason insurance does not cover some or all of the cost, the state will cover the difference, so testing remains completely free to everyone.
“We are fortunate to be able to have additional COVID-19 testing options available to our community through this MDH pilot,” says Grace Grinager, Co-Incident Commander and Public Health Supervisor for Cook County. “I encourage anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has been identified as a contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19 to seek testing in order to slow the spread of the virus locally. Testing, along with contact tracing, isolation/quarantine, and everyday preventative measures like hand washing, mask wearing, and physical distancing are powerful tools to help us minimize the impact of the pandemic on businesses, schools, families, and friends.”
Local testing options in Cook County are still available. Local health care providers at Sawtooth Mountain Clinic and North Shore Health do not have involvement with test orders, pending results or patient reports for testing submitted through the state’s COVID-19 Test at Home program. Because this is a new option locally, Public Health is still working out some of the logistical questions that residents might have about the process.
If you are symptomatic for COVID-19, contact the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic or your provider for guidance on testing and managing current symptoms. You need to quarantine while you are waiting for your test results to come back. If you are a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19, please contact Cook County Public Health at (218) 387-3605 to ensure that you test yourself in the recommended timeframe after exposure. This will make your test results more reliable. Even if you receive a negative COVID-19 test, close contacts are recommended to quarantine for a full 14 days after exposure to prevent transmission.
For questions on COVID-19 symptoms or accessing COVID testing through local healthcare facilities, call Sawtooth Mountain Clinic at (218) 387-2330.
For more information on the COVID-19 Test at Home program, and to order a test, please visit the MDH website: COVID-19 Test at Home.
#LSN_Cook County #LSN_MNNews