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New COVID testing sites opening in Albert Lea, Fairmont

A sample is taken from a woman at a free COVID-19 testing site, provided by United Memorial Medical Center, Sunday, June 28, 2020, at the Mexican Consulate, in Houston. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Texas continue to surge. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott shut down bars again and scaled back restaurant dining on Friday as cases climbed to record levels after the state embarked on one of America's fastest reopenings. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Two southern Minnesota towns will have access to free COVID-19 testing, as the Minnesota Department of Health announces eleven new testing sites across the state.

Fairmont and Albert Lea are among the cities where MDH has announced it will open the testing locations.  Both sites will offer free, “no barrier” COVID-19 testing at their respective National Guard Armories.  Both sites will open Wednesday, November 18 and remain open 3 to 5 days a week for the remainer of 2020.

The announcement comes as Minnesota enters what health officials call the most difficult phase of the pandemic.

In addition to the 11 new testing sites, the COVID-19 Test at Home program is now available to all Minnesotans.  It was first launched as pilot program last month in two dozen counties, including Mower and Le Sueur.

The testing sites and the mail-in program both offer testing to any Minnesotan who wants to be tested, whether they have symptoms or not.  Insurance isn’t required.  Some sites will offer nasal testing; others will have saliva testing.

A site will also open in Hutchinson at the National Guard Armory on November 30.

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