Crowding prompts Minnesota to halt walk-in COVID testing at MSP

3January 2022

The Minnesota Department of Health has suspended walk-in service at its Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport testing center, saying appointments are now required.

The move came at the request of MSP airport officials to reduce crowding at the testing center, the Health Department said in a tweet on Monday afternoon.

The Health Department said Tuesday’s testing would be by appointment only, but that there would be more appointments available.

“The number of people without appointments coming to the airport in hopes of being tested on a walk-up basis overwhelmed the state testing facility at MSP,” Metropolitan Airports Commission spokesman Patrick Hogan said via e-mail.

“The crowd became too large for the facility and posed safety issues from a social distancing standpoint,” Hogan wrote. “A decision was made to focus only on those who had made appointments so we could safely accommodate them.”

Aside from the free state-run testing center, travelers can pay for tests at a center operated at the airport by Wandertest. The company’s website, however, suggested walk-in service wasn’t available late Monday afternoon.

Earlier Monday, health officials announced that demand in general was “very high” at state-run testing facilities, so wait times could be longer than normal. The Health Department also said that hospital staff didn’t have capacity for routine testing, so people should search out other locations if possible.

“If you have serious symptoms, like difficulty breathing or severe chest pain, go to the emergency room,” the Health Department said.

Late in the afternoon, the Minnesota Department of Health announced that its vendor for processing at-home tests was setting a daily limit for all customers including the state of Minnesota.

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