WINONA — With a surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases, the Minnesota Department of Health and Winona County are working together to get more people tested for the virus that causes the disease.
Violet De Stefano, emergency management assistant for Winona County, said the county saw a big uptick in COVID-19 cases after students came back to the colleges in the city.
Winona State University has had 209 confirmed cases of students and staff, although not all are on campus. There are 23 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Saint Mary's University's Winona campus.
However, the number of cases reported daily has dipped in Winona County over the past few days.
"We have definitely been seeing a little bit of a decline (of testing) because of the holiday weekend," De Stefano said. "But otherwise we’ve been seeing consistent rates of testing across our community."
To stay on top of the spread of the virus, the state and local officials will host a drive-thru testing site from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at the Integrated Wellness Center parking lot on the corner of Mark and Main streets on the WSU campus. Vehicles can enter from the corner near Huff and Mark streets. Walk-up testing also will be available.
"Testing uncovers positive cases earlier," Winona County Emergency Management Coordinator Ben Klinger said. "The test results will provide important data about the degree of spread in our area and help to guide efforts to combat COVID-19 and protect those who are most vulnerable to serious complications."
De Stefano said the county is prepared to administer 2,000 tests during the two-day clinic.
"We’re hoping to hit that number, but we want to get as many people tested as we can," she said.
Anyone who wants to be tested is encouraged to come, even if they don’t have symptoms of COVID-19, the county noted in a written statement. Furthermore, no insurance or identification is needed.
To avoid long lines, the county is encouraging people to register for a testing time either online at www.primarybio.com/r/winona or by calling (855) 612-0677.