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Walz to announce statewide expansion of coronavirus testing

ST. PAUL — Gov. Tim Walz is set to announce an expansion to statewide COVID-19 testing on Monday.

Walz plans to visit the Minneapolis Convention Center where a new, free coronavirus saliva test site opens. It will be the eighth saliva testing site in the state.

The other sites have gotten plenty of traffic, with officials reporting 50,000 people who were tested in one day alone.

Health officials say increased testing is needed to help people find out if they have COVID-19 and help the department track, trace, and find asymptomatic people to prevent more spreading.

Tom Weaver is one who took a saliva test. He tells KSTP-TV that it was quick and easy.

“It’s just a peace of mind kind of thing,” Weaver said. “You can go about your life letting people know, that way everybody is in the know, the best information is available, and they can make decisions appropriately.”

The Minnesota Department of Health on Sunday reported an increase of 5,924 positive tests of the coronavirus, a single-day high in the state that ranks 12th in the country for new cases per capita in the last two weeks.

The update lifted the total number of cases in Minnesota to 180,862 since the start of the pandemic.

Health officials confirmed additional 31 deaths, for a total number of 2,656 fatalities.