You would think they were handing out $100 bills at the National Guard Armory in Faribault today but free COVID-19 tests were being administered.  The line since before they started the testing at 10:00 a.m. stretched down the long driveway to the frontage road.  That has to be about a quarter mile or more.

The tests are being conducted Sunday and Monday also and judging by their popularity they will easily get the 6,000 the Minnesota Department of Health said could be completed at six National Guard Armory facilities across the state.  Hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day or until they run out of supplies for the tests.

It's an effort to step up testing.  Rice County Public Health Department staff are assisting with the tests.  People will wait longer than the test takes.  No appointment is necessary.

National Guard members will swab the inside of your nose and ask you to complete paperwork with your name and contact information so you can be contacted with the results.

Results will be provided by phone and officials say the average expected time is within 48 hours.

Any Minnesotan can be tested.  You don't have to be from Faribault.  Rice County Public Health is encouraging people to get tested.  Especially is they feel sick or are having symptoms.

The most typical symptoms for COVID-19 according to the Minnesota Department of Health are fever, cough, shortness of breath and fatigue.

Rice County Public Health says, "Community transmission is occurring throughout Minnesota. Anyone can contract this disease and pass it on to others. For  individuals who have been told that they have COVID-19, or for those who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, it is critical that they remain in isolation or quarantine as advised, which may be up to 14 days, or sometimes longer."

Local provider testing continues to be available in Faribault at Allina Health or HealthFinders Collaborative, in Northfield at Northfield Hospital & Clinics, and in Owatonna at Mayo Clinic Health System.

This is happening while the Faribault Walmart Supercenter closed Friday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.for a deep cleaning of their store.  Company officials confirmed but would not report how many of their employees tested COVID positive. The store will open at 7:00 a.m. Sunday.

The National Guard  Armory in Faribault is located at 3000 West Airport Road.  I drove out and took a number of photos from a distance because I didn't want to get in the long line.

I took photos by the armory road from near the frontage road and from the airport.


NEXT UP: Eerily Empty Public Spaces in Faribault



More From KDHL Radio