Free COVID-19 testing to be done this weekend in Austin

Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcom announced on Wednesday that, due to a significant increase in cases of COVID-19, a mass testing event is being scheduled in Austin for anyone who wants to be tested.

“It’s imperative we work quickly to ensure the health and welfare of those who live in Mower County,” Malcolm said. “Community-based testing provides vital information to people on whether they have COVID-19 and will help us stop the spread of the virus.” 

The Minnesota Department of Health on Wednesday reported an additional 72 cases of COVID-19 in Mower County, raising the total to 733 cases since March 19. According to MDH Public Information Officer Julie Bartkey, 358 Hormel Foods and Quality Pork Processors employees working at the Austin Plant have tested positive since the pandemic began. Of those, roughly 50 cases are still active on the Hormel side and 51 cases are still active on the QPP side, according to Hormel Foods Corporate Communications Manager Rick Williamson. 

Hormel Foods employs over 1,800 workers at the Austin Plant, while QPP employs over 1,300.

“I am strongly encouraging the residents of Mower County to register and get tested,” said Pam Kellogg, Community Health Division Manager. “This an opportunity for us to protect our elders, our families, and to contribute to community efforts to fight this pandemic.” 

The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 20, and Sunday at the Mower County Fairgrounds, 700 12th St. SW in Austin.

Any Mower County resident who wants to be tested is encouraged to come, even if they don’t have symptoms of COVID-19. If you’re undocumented or don’t have insurance, you can still get COVID-19 testing. 

To avoid long lines, pre-registration for a time slot is preferred. Visit https://reg.primarybio.com/r/mower to register. If you are not able to sign up online or need a translator, call 1-800-657-3903 for assistance.