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COVID-19 Information

Our goal is to provide you with up-to-date information about COVID-19, testing, vaccines, and travel.

Latest CDC Updates

Americans are now able to order up to 4 at-home, rapid tests! Go to https://www.covidtests.gov/ to claim yours!

Updated Mask Recommendations:

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommends wearing a high-quality mask to help limit COVID-19, including variants like Omicron. Examples of high-quality masks include N95 or KN95 masks, which are very good at blocking droplets. If you do not have this type of mask, wear a mask with two or more layers of tightly woven fabric. You can also layer a disposable mask under a cloth mask to increase effectiveness. The cloth mask should press the edges of the disposable mask snugly against your face.

Avoid wearing face coverings made of thinner, loosely woven, or single-layer fabric such as certain types of masks, scarves, neck gaiters, or bandannas. They are not as effective for blocking droplets that come out when speaking, coughing, or sneezing. If you wear a scarf or neck gaiter for warmth, also wear a mask underneath it.

Additionally, MDH’s guidance for wearing masks is available in EnglishEspañol/SpanishHmoob/Hmong, and Soomaali/Somali.

Get the best protection from your mask

Along with getting vaccinated and boosted, wearing a well-fitting mask over your mouth and nose in indoor public settings or crowds (whether indoors or outside) is crucial to preventing the spread of COVID-19. With the rapid spread of the omicron variant, experts are recommending that consumers upgrade their masks to a high filtration respirator for the best protection.

  • Your mask should fit over your nose and mouth and snug against your face with no gaps.

  • If you’re using a cloth mask, wear one with multiple layers or wear a cloth mask over a surgical mask. Be sure your mask fits properly; nose wires improve fit.

  • Surgical masks provide protection against large droplets.

  • High filtration masks provide the most protection. (Check lists of trusted manufacturers from the CDC and Project N95 to avoid counterfeit masks.)

 https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/facecover.html

Click here to visit the CDC’s updates page.

Click here to view the local transmission rate map from the CDC.

Omicron Variant Statement

Omicron is a very effective strain of the virus and it spreads quickly. Data shows that it is doubling every 1.5 to 3 days. In Minnesota, the large number of cases suggest widespread community transmission, leading to an estimated 90% of cases right now likely attributed to Omicron.

As cases rise, the increase in demand for hospital resources follows. Our healthcare capacity is stretched very thin and the demands on it are expected to worsen. Our workforce is at continued risk of increased absences due to the disease.

The bottom line: the best way to arm yourself against Omicron is to get vaccinated and boosted, mask up and stay home when you are sick. We must continue to get Minnesotans vaccinated – the Omicron strain is less severe in people who are immunized through vaccination before they contract the infection.

The following guidance applies in all cases:

  • You must wear a mask at all times when with others (30% of cases are still infectious at day 6)

  • You should avoid close physical contact with immunocompromised and higher risk individuals.

  • There are shortened timelines for returning to work, school and essential activities, detailed below

  • If you test positive during quarantine, you will need to move into isolation

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Get Vaccinated

COVID-19 vaccines are free for all, regardless of insurance, and available to those ages 5 and older with parental consent!

Need a COVID-19 vaccine or booster? Here are ways to get your free shot:

– Visit https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/find-vaccine/locations/index.jsp to find a provider near you.

– Check for appointments at https://www.vaccines.gov/ where you can search by vaccine type.

– Contact your primary health care provider or a local pharmacy.

– Walk in to or make an appointment at one of our community vaccination sites: https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/find-vaccine/community-vaccination-program/index.jsp

 

Statewide Vaccine Connector

Minnesota residents can register for the Vaccine Connector. All Minnesotans are now eligible, so register! You will receive updates on vaccine opportunities.

Click here to register for the Vaccine Connector.

Hennepin County Vaccine Connector

Hennepin County residents can also register for the county’s vaccine connector tool. Registering for this system does not disqualify you from the state-wide Vaccine Connector.

Click here to register for the Hennepin County Vaccine System.

You can find more information about Hennepin County’s system here.

Should I get a booster shot?

All Minnesotans ages 12 and older who got the Pfizer vaccine should get a booster shot at least five months after their second dose. People age 12-17 can only receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as their booster dose. Adults can mix and max vaccination brands.

To find a vaccine or booster for your child, visit mn.gov/vaxforkids, check with your health care provider or pharmacy, or watch for vaccination clinics being offered at schools or other community locations near you.

To see booster requirements, please view this chart.

Travel Plans?

If you are making travel plans, be sure to take all steps to ensure the safest possible journey.

Do not travel internationally until you are fully vaccinated. Getting vaccinated is still the best way to protect yourself from severe disease, slow the spread of COVID-19, and reduce the number of new variants. CDC encourages you get a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose if you are eligible. People who are not fully vaccinated should follow additional recommendations beforeduring, and after travel.

Do NOT travel if…

  • You are sick.

  • You tested positive for COVID-19 and haven’t ended isolation.

    • After you end isolation, avoid travel until a full 10 days after your symptoms started or the date of your positive test if you had no symptoms.

    • If you must travel on days 6 through 10, properly wear a well-fitting mask when you are around others for the entire duration of travel. If you are unable to wear a mask, you should not travel during days 6 through 10.

  • You had close contact with a person with COVID-19 and haven’t ended quarantine.

    • Get tested at least 5 days after your last close contact and make sure your test result is negative and you remain without symptoms before traveling. If you don’t get tested, delay travel until a full 10 days after your last close contact with a person with COVID-19.

    • If you must travel before the 10 days are completed, properly wear a well-fitting mask when you are around others for the entire duration of travel during the 10 days. If you are unable to wear a mask, you should not travel during the 10 days.

  • You are waiting for results of a COVID-19 test. If your test comes back positive while you are at your destination, you will need to isolate and postpone your return until it’s safe for you to end isolation. Your travel companions may need to quarantine.
     

What You Need to Know:

  • When you travel to the United States by air, you are required to show a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before you board your flight.

  • Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required in indoor areas of public transportation (including airplanes) traveling into, within, or out of the United States and indoors in U.S. transportation hubs (including airports).
     

For more information, go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/international-travel-during-covid19.html

Get Tested

Thank you to all the Minnesotans who are taking precautions against COVID-19! There is an extremely high demand for testing right now. Here are ways to get tested:

– Walk in or schedule an appointment at one of the state’s free community testing sites. Some sites only accept appointments, so check before you go. https://mn.gov/covid19/get-tested/testing-locations/community-testing.jsp

– Order online through the state’s free at-home saliva (PCR) COVID-19 testing program: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/testsites/athome.html

– Find a testing option near you through the state’s Find Testing Locations map: https://mn.gov/covid19/get-tested/testing-locations/index.jsp

– Purchase a home test at your local store or online. Learn more: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/testsites/hometests.html

If you test positive on any type of test, you have COVID-19. Stay home and away from others, even if you don’t have symptoms, and tell your close contacts. Follow these recommendations, including how long to stay home: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/sick.html

What if my test is negative?

A negative COVID-19 test is not a free pass. A test is only a moment in time. If you tested negative but now you have symptoms, stay home and away from others, and get tested again. Keep social distancing and wearing a mask.

Types of COVID-19 tests  

Confused about COVID-19 tests? You’re not alone. There are different kinds of tests. PCR tests detect the virus’s genetic material and are the most accurate. They can be used whether or not you have symptoms. We provide saliva PCR tests for free at our community testing sites and through our at-home testing program. It typically takes 1-3 days to get results. You can find nasal swab PCR tests at other locations like a clinic or pharmacy.

Rapid tests are antigen tests that look for specific proteins on the surface of the virus. They produce results more quickly than other tests, like within 10-15 minutes, but may not be as accurate, especially for people who do not have symptoms. We provide free rapid testing at some of our community testing sites, and you can also purchase them at many pharmacy and retail locations. https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/testsites/types.html

 

A positive result from any kind of test means the person who took the test has COVID-19 and can spread it to others. Stay home and away from others. This advice does not change if you get a second test that is negative. Follow the instructions on https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/sick.html.

Community Testing – Saliva Tests

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is offering Minnesotans more and different options for COVID-19 testing by offering saliva testing, in addition to traditional COVID-19 community testing, in a growing number of locations across the state. The test is more comfortable than a nasal swab, and available at no cost to anyone who believes they need a COVID-19 test.

  • Saliva testing is free and available to all Minnesotans who believe they need to be tested, with or without symptoms.

  • Identification is not required. You do need to have an email address and phone number to receive your results.

  • Insurance is not required. If you do have insurance, you will need to show your card. The test is completely free whether or not you have insurance, and you will not receive a bill.

  • Saliva testing may not be right for those with low saliva production, such as children under age 4 or someone who has suffered a stroke.
     

Community Testing – Nasal Swabs

Nasal swab testing is available in many clinics and hospitals across Minnesota.

  • Signing up ahead of time helps avoid long lines. People who walk in without an appointment might have to come back later or another day.

  • If you are not able to sign up online, or need an interpreter, call 1-855-612-0677 for assistance.

  • You’ll need to show your identification and insurance information (if you have insurance) when you arrive.

 

There are many COVID19 testing sites throughout Minnesota. Find one near you.

Locations are setting their own guidelines for patients. Some are only testing symptomatic patients, some are accepting asymptomatic patients, some are fee-based. Various location information is on the site.

Some locations can perform a rapid COVID-19 test for an additional fee. They aren’t as accurate as a nasal or saliva test, especially if you don’t have symptoms.

मिनसोटा में कोविड़-19 टेस्ट के लिए कई केंद्र उपलब्ध हैं। अपने निकटतम केंद्र को यहां खोजे!

सभी केंद्र अलग अलग तरीकों से अपने दर्दीयों के लिए दिशा निर्देशों को स्थापित कर रहे हैं। कुछ केंद्र सिर्फ लक्षणात्मक (symptomatic) दर्दीयों को ही जाँच रहे हैं, कुछ अ-लक्षणात्मक (asymptomatic) दर्दीयों को भी स्वीकार कर रहे हैं, कुछ शुल्क आधारित हैं। विभिन्न केन्द्रों की जानकारी साईट पर उपलब्ध है।