The Potluck

Minnesota making 1 million rapid, at-home COVID tests available to families

By: - December 3, 2021 4:07 pm

Photo courtesy of PD.

The state of Minnesota will make an additional 1 million rapid, at-home COVID-19 tests available to families for free, Gov. Tim Walz announced Friday.

Child care providers and K-12 schools will distribute the BD Veritor At-Home rapid test kits to families, according to a news release. The state expects it will receive all 1 million tests by the end of the year.

Minnesota will also offer booster shots for parents when they bring their 5- to 11-year-old children for vaccines at state-run sites as early as Dec. 6, according to Walz’s office. The Mall of America vaccination site already offers both booster doses for adults and first or second doses for children.

The moves come as Minnesota continues to experience one of the nation’s worst COVID-19 outbreaks. Minnesota’s test positivity rate remains over 10%, and hospitals are still overwhelmed with patients.

Nineteen intensive care unit beds were open across the entire state Friday. In the metro, just one ICU bed and 26 general hospital beds — 0.7% of the region’s hospital capacity — were available.

More than 70% of the state’s population over age 5 — 3.6 million people — have at least one dose of vaccine, and 65% are fully vaccinated. 

About 35% of fully vaccinated Minnesota adults have received a booster, according to Walz’s office.

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Rilyn Eischens
Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens is a data reporter with the Reformer. Rilyn was born and raised in Minnesota and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.