Mass COVID-19 testing on campus due to rising cases

Maxwell Mayleben ® Editor in Chief |
Photo by Mansoor Ahmad ® Photo Editor |

In response to rising COVID-19 case numbers in the region, Minnesota State University, Mankato and the Minnesota Department Health launched a free COVID-19 testing event this week that drew hundreds of people including students, faculty and Mankato community members.

The testing started Wednesday at noon until 7 p.m., and is scheduled at the same times for Thursday, Sept. 3.

When arriving at the Myers Field House, patrons were separated into two lines: those who have made an appointment, and those who needed to register. For those with appointments, the line lead straight to testing. 

Inside, people were split into four lanes to ensure social distancing. At the beginning of each lane was a table where individuals’ registrations were reviewed before they were sent on to the testing area.

“It’s not the “brainscrape”,” said Nick Kimball, the spokesperson for the State Emergency Operation Center, in reference to the notoriously uncomfortable COVID-19 test. “It’s about an inch inside your nose in both nostrils.”

The scheduling of appointments allows for a quick flow in and out of people. “It’s averaging four and a half minutes on site” said Kimball.

Due to the increased access to testing, the numbers of positive cases in Mankato is likely to rise in the next few days.

Kimball said that the raw numbers are just the first factor in deciding how to move forward in a community. “It’s a collaboration to understand the numbers and how to work based on those numbers,” said Kimball. 

The venue was chosen by local officials and the MDH as being the most suitable to accommodate mass testing. During the H1N1 outbreak, the Field House was used for a mass vaccination event.

“So much space allows for social distancing, no large crowds, people doing the testing are totally PPE’d up,” said Kimball regarding the safety of the event. 

Several MNSU students were also at the event looking to get tested, including Jisela Gonzalez and her roommates. “Our roommate went to a party, so we are all getting tested,” said Gonzalez. 

To students looking for advice on how to stay safe while in college, Kimball said, “Wear a mask, stay socially distant and enjoy the wonderful fall weather we are coming into.”

Header photo: Stacy Leesch gets tested for COVID-19 at the free testing event held in the Myers Field House Sept. 2, 2020 in Mankato, Minn. (Mansoor Ahmad/MSU Reporter)

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