With students returning to schools, fall youth activities underway, and the recent Labor Day holiday weekend behind us, Olmsted County Public Health Services (OCPHS) encourages the public to seek regular testing as another essential tool for everyone to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
When to seek testing
Following the testing recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), OCPHS recommends the public seek COVID-19 testing when;
- Experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of vaccination.
- Exposure to someone with COVID-19, regardless of vaccination.
- An individual is not fully vaccinated and participates in in-person school settings, extracurricular or sports activities.
- Attending large gatherings indoors or outdoors with no physical distancing, regardless of vaccination.
If an individual attends a large gathering or has exposure to someone with COVID-19 they should get tested 3-5 days after.
“Testing identifies infected persons, both those with and without symptoms, who may be contagious so people can take measures to prevent further exposures and transmission,” OCPHS Director Graham Briggs said.
In K-12 schools, testing is critical to the identification and isolation of individuals who test positive for COVID. Testing can help guide when people, who are not fully vaccinated, should quarantine after exposure to COVID-19. This testing is vital in areas experiencing substantial or high community transmission levels.
What to do when receiving COVID-19 test results
When an individual gets tested for COVID-19, they should stay home until they receive their results. Staying home when sick is essential to keeping COVID-19, or other infectious diseases, out of schools, workplaces, and communities. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 will allow staff and families to know when they should refrain from attending school and school activities.
Individuals testing positive should plan on staying home until all statements below are true:
- The individual feels better, and symptoms have improved.
- It has been 10 days since the individual first felt sick.
- The individual has had no fever for at least 24 hours without using fever-reducing medicine.
If an individual tests positive but does not have symptoms, they need to stay home for 10 days.
When an individual tests negative and has been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, they need to stay home and away from others, even if they don’t have symptoms for the duration of their recommended quarantine. COVID-19 can take up to 14 days to make an individual sick. The safest option is to stay home and away from others for 14 days or after seven days with a negative COVID-19 test result.
If an individual tests negative for COVID-19 but does have symptoms, they should talk to their doctor and follow their advice. If there is no diagnosis, the person should still stay away from work, school, and other public places until they feel better and have no fever.
There are several locations offering COVID-19 testing for Olmsted County residents. Generally, appointments are required.
- Mayo Clinic patients: Call the COVID-19 Nurse Line at 507-293-9525 seven days a week.
- Olmsted Medical Center patients: Call the COVID-19 Nurse Line at 507-292-7266. Testing hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- Check local Walgreens and Hy-Vee pharmacy options.
- Residents can also have a test kit shipped directly to their home via expedited shipping from https://learn.vaulthealth.com/state-of-minnesota/
Residents can find testing information on the Olmsted County COVID-19 webpage.