By Bruce Karnick
State Representative Tony Jurgens, State Senator Karla Bigham and even Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey all shared their excitement that Cottage Grove was chosen to house a new COVID-19 testing site for the east metro. Prior to the announcement, residents east of the cities had to rely on a small availability of tests at local pharmacies or they had to travel to Eagan or Inver Grove Heights to be tested at that larger facility, especially if they needed a rapid test.
Now, the Minnesota Department of Health, in partnership with the Minnesota National Guard, is opening a testing site in Cottage Grove. The site will be located at 8180 Belden Blvd which is the National Guard Armory building just off 80th St S. behind Ace Hardware and Basic Needs Thrift Shop.
The site is listed to be opening January 13 and will operate Thursdays through Mondays 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The only test that is listed as an option currently is the 24–72-hour saliva test. No rapid test is currently listed on the State of Minnesota’s COVID testing site for Cottage Grove.
The website https://mn.gov/covid19/ get-tested/testing-locations/community- testing.jsp is where area residents will need to go to sign up for testing once it is available, the site also lists other locations around the state to receive testing.
The Inver Grove Heights testing center is the closest rapid test center in the area at the IGH Armory located at 8076 Babcock Trail. The IGH location is the large building that houses the IGH Ice Arena and The Grove Pool.
Important items to note: Walk-ins are welcome at the State of Minnesota’s community testing sites.
The state strongly encourages you to sign up for an appointment using the registration link listed with each location.
Signing up ahead of time helps avoid long lines and makes social distancing easier.
You do not need to show identification to receive a COVID-19 test at a Community Testing Program site.
Tests are free All costs for this test are covered by your insurance company or the federal or state government. Do not pay your insurance company or the testing provider for your COVID-19 test. There is no cost to you for this test. Insurance companies may send you an Explanation of Benefits or “EOB” showing the difference between the billed cost of this COVID test and what they have paid. It may even say that a portion is “patient responsibility.” This is simply for your information. It is not a bill, and you should NOT pay anything.
Proof of insurance not required Testing is available to anyone who believes they need a COVID-19 test, with or without insurance. 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 available at no cost to everyone.
Governor Walz also announced that an additional 1.8 million at-home rapid tests for Minnesota Schools will now be available.