ST. CLOUD – The State of Minnesota will begin offering free saliva tests for COVID-19 in St. Cloud Wednesday.

The site will be set up at the River’s Edge Convention Center in downtown St. Cloud. Tests will be available Wednesday through Friday from noon to 7:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Saliva tests are free and open to everyone who wants to be tested for COVID-19, including those who may be asymptomatic. Participants will be asked for their health insurance information so the state can bill their insurance companies. Those who are uninsured will not be charged.

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Health officials report the saliva test for COVID-19 has the same effectiveness rate as the nasal swab, but is more comfortable to take. Participants will self-administer the test by spitting into a funnel attached to a small tube. Health professionals will monitor the collection process and ensure there is enough saliva to be tested. Participants should avoid eating, drinking, chewing, or smoking anything for at least 30 minutes before providing a sample.

The same saliva test was also recently made available to 23 counties and the Red Lake Nation through the COVID-19 Test at Home Program. Officials say the service will soon be available to all Minnesotans statewide.

To make an appointment, visit the Vault Health registration site.