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Officials unveil this weekend’s COVID-19 testing plan at fairgrounds

Officials recommend registration to avoid long lines

 

Due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Mower County, the Minnesota Department of Health will hold free COVID-19 testing from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 20, and Sunday, June 21 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.

Pam Kellogg, Mower County Public Health community health division manager, stands at what will be the exit to the swine barn at the Mower County Fairgrounds. The barn will be the point of testing this weekend for COVID-19. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Those wishing to get tested will have to enter in their vehicles through the fairgrounds from the north entrance on Fourth Avenue Southeast. Vehicles will then follow cones and directors to the Cattle Barn, next to the Crane Pavillion and across the road from the Horticulture Building, for registration.

“We’re anticipating having at least four people registering at a time or checking to see if people have appointments,” said Community Health Division Manager Pam Kellogg. “We’ll divide it out – one side will be for people who are pre-registered and the other side will be for those that we need to register onsite.”

After registration, vehicles will then turn left through the side exit into the Swine Barn, where the actual tests will be carried out. Kellogg said they will be using a less invasive nasal test.

“We’ll have at least four testing sites going at the same time,” Kellogg said. “The testers are being supplied by the Minnesota Department of Health – they have nurses and assistants doing this process. It is expected to take no longer than one to two minutes to get the swab done.”

“We’re hoping to get at least 10 cars through every 15 minutes,” she added. “You should not be onsite longer than 15 minutes total.”

Kellogg said results can be expected within two to three days.

“If it is a negative test, they are going to receive a text or an email within 72 hours,” she said. “If it’s positive, it will take somewhere from 48 to 72 hours. We ask that anyone having symptoms to stay in isolation until they get those test results back.”

People coming to the fairgrounds for the free testing this weekend will come in the north entrance of the Mower County Fairgrounds. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

“The most important thing we’ve had problems with throughout the whole State of Minnesota is people get their testing, and then they don’t answer their phones to get the results,” she continued. “Please answer the call after you get tested.

To avoid long lines, Kellogg said that pre-registration for a time slot is preferred.

“If you can register at any time before this, it will make the process go much faster,” she said. “Once you register for the test, you will get a QR code or barcode on your cell phone. When you arrive, they’ll ask for that bar code and will take a picture of it. That’s how they’ll print your labels and know exactly who you are and get that process going.”

To register, visit https://reg.primarybio.com/r/mower.Registration is available in multiple languages and can be done anytime during the weekend until all spots are full.

If you are not able to sign up online or need a translator, call 1-800-657-3903 for assistance.