COVID-19 Community Testing
Testing is available to anyone in Minnesota at no cost to them. The state of Minnesota has both community rapid and saliva testing sites where anyone can get tested for COVID-19 – with or without insurance. All sites take extra care to keep the virus from spreading. Anyone can get tested at the saliva sites, and people with symptoms can get tested at rapid sites.
For anyone who prefers to speak a language besides English, in-person or Language Line assistance is available at community testing sites. Some testing sites have COVID Community Coordinators to help walk people through the testing process. You can connect with a COVID Community Coordinator at any time for testing help: COVID Community Coordinator Search.
Many of Minnesota's community testing sites use saliva tests. These tests are more comfortable than nasal swabs, and are just as accurate. They may not be the right test for everyone, though. Young children, people who have had a stroke, and others with dry mouths who cannot make enough saliva needed for the test should get a nasal swab test at a different place. People need to be able to spit into a small tube enough times to get the right amount of spit for testing. It can take 10 to 12 minutes to get enough spit. A testing supervisor watches to make sure the test is done the right way, but people do the test themselves.
Tests at community saliva testing sites are polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, molecular tests that detect the virus's genetic material. PCR tests are the most accurate tests for detecting the virus that causes COVID-19. A positive PCR test result is considered a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Find a COVID-19 community testing site near you. If saliva testing is not right for you, you may also contact your health care provider about other testing options.
Many of the Minnesota community testing sites use antigen tests, also known as rapid tests. Antigen tests look for specific proteins on the surface of the virus and produce results more quickly than other tests. Rapid test results at state sites will be available within approximately 1-3 hours of processing. The test is conducted with a nasal swab.
A positive antigen test means the person should stay home and away from others and follow the recommendations on If You Are Sick or Test Positive: COVID-19.
Find a COVID-19 community testing site near you. If swab testing is not right for you, you may also contact your health care provider about other testing options.
There is NO COST to you for the test. DO NOT pay your insurance company or the testing site for your COVID-19 test.
All costs for this test are paid by your insurance company or the federal or state government. Insurance companies may send you an Explanation of Benefits or "EOB" showing the difference between the billed cost of a COVID-19 test and what they paid for it. You may even see a dollar amount under "patient responsibility." This is NOT a bill. It is just for your information. Your insurance company’s payment to the testing company, Vault Health, is the full payment and you pay nothing.
Testing site safety and access
All people need to wear a mask or face covering, unless they cannot do so for medical reasons.
Stay at least 6 feet away from people who are not part of your family.
Use hand sanitizer that is there for you at the testing site.
If you make an appointment in advance and need Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodation or have other accessibility needs, email email@example.com or call 800-800-5698 two or three business days before your test date. This gives the test site the time to have what you need.
If you prefer a language besides English, there are in-person or Language Line translators available.
Schedule a saliva test
You do not need an appointment to get tested at a community testing site, but it is best to schedule a testing appointment online before you go, if you can. The online form asks for your name, phone number, and email address. If you do not have an email address, you can also go to a testing site at any time and someone will assist you.
Families can make one appointment using one email address and go to the testing site together to get tested as a group. However, each family member must register their information online separately to get their test results.
Schedule a rapid test
You do not need an appointment to get tested at a community rapid testing site, but it is best to schedule a testing appointment online before you go, if you can. To make a rapid test appointment, visit COVID-19 Community Testing Sites.
Saliva test registration
Everyone must register with Vault Health, the testing company. Your registration information is used to send your test results to you.
After scheduling a testing appointment, you will get an email with the details about the test. This email will also have a link to Vault Health. Follow the link to complete the registration process for you and all the members of your family who are also getting tested. Registering ahead of time will help the process at the testing site go faster.
If you do not have internet, you can register at the test site. All test sites have tablets that you can use to register when you get there and staff who can help assist you.
Everyone needs their own account to get tested, including children. If two or more people use the same account, all test results tied to that account will be thrown out and everyone who used that account will have to get tested again.
If you or your family members do not already each have an email account that you can use, you can do one of the following:
Option 1: Set up an email account for each person. Several companies offer free email accounts, including Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo. You can set up an account using any of these companies. Test results will be sent to each person’s email account.
Option 2: Set up an account for each person with Vault Health, the testing company. Test results will be sent to each person’s Vault Health account. If you create a Vault account, your test results are given to you over the phone and can also be accessed through your account online.
Set up a Vault Health account:
After you schedule a testing appointment, you will get a confirmation email. This email will have a link to Vault Health, where you can create your account.
Create a login name that begins with “MNC19+” and your first and last name. For example: MNC19firstname.lastname@example.org.
Include your insurance information, if you have insurance.
Call Vault customer service if you have questions or need help: 800-800-5698.
Getting a saliva test
Do not eat, chew, smoke, or drink anything (including water) for at least 30 minutes before starting a saliva test.
Bring your insurance card to the test site, if you have health insurance. The state may ask your insurance company to help pay for the test. With or without insurance, you pay nothing and can get tested.
Arrive on time and check in.
You get a test kit when you check in, and a place to take the test. Families can stay together. Families should bring their confirmation email/text or tell staff your name, birthdate, and address to get test kits for each family member.
You use your smartphone to scan a QR code that takes you to a testing website that will walk you through the testing process. The test kit will not have your name or date of birth on it. Each kit will have a unique code that links your sample with your information.
A testing supervisor on the website tells you how to take the test. If you do not have a smartphone, the testing site gives you a tablet to use to take the test. Testing supervisors are on hand to make sure the test is done the right way.
You spit into a funnel attached to a tube. Getting the needed amount of spit usually takes 10 to 12 minutes.
When your tube is filled to the line, take off the funnel and screw on the cap. This cap has a blue liquid in it to keep your test sample fresh. Keep screwing on the cap until the divider between the blue liquid and the tube with your spit cracks. Then shake the tube to mix the blue liquid and your spit together. Shake the tube for five seconds.
Place your test tube where you are told to leave it. Throw away the packaging from the testing kit.
Your test is done, and your sample is sent to a lab.
Getting your saliva test results
I Got Tested – Now What? Learn more about what to expect after getting tested.
If you got tested because you have COVID-19 symptoms or had contact with someone with COVID-19, stay home and away from others until you get your test results.
Saliva test results are ready within 72 hours after the lab gets your test sample, and possibly sooner.
If you used an email account to sign up for your test, your results are sent to your email address.
If you used a Vault Health account to sign up for you or a family member, Vault Health calls you with the results. This call comes to your phone from an “Unknown” caller. You need to answer this call, because it is not possible to leave a message about test results. The results are also sent to your Vault Health account. Log in at Vault Health: Welcome Back, using the Vault Health email address and password you created to sign up for your test.
If you do not get your test results within 72 hours, send an email to email@example.com, or call Vault Health customer service at 800-800-5698.
If your test is negative: You will get a text and/or email from Vault Health that says you can access your results online and a phone number to call instead if you do not have access to the internet.
If your test is positive:
Stay home and away from others. Visit If You Are Sick or Test Positive for more information on caring for yourself and others.
You will get a phone call or a text message from the health department. Please make sure to answer. The results of your test are not shared with anyone outside of your public health department. We do not share your information with other government agencies, employers, or health care providers.
Have a Complaint? Issues with getting your test results or complaints about insurance or fraud.
Getting your rapid test results
Rapid test results at state sites will be available within approximately 1-3 hours of processing.