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COVID-19 Testing Criteria Changes in Minnesota

Community news | Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Polk County Public Health, RiverView Health, and Altru Clinic are working together for the well-being of our patients and communities in Minnesota to provide the latest COVID-19 update.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has announced that due to a national shortage of COVID-19 laboratory testing materials, the state is adjusting its testing criteria recommendations to focus on the highest priority specimens, including hospitalized patients. Health care workers and those in congregate living settings such as long-term care will also be given high priority.

MDH has established the following guidance for the general public:

  • If you have symptoms of respiratory disease (these include fever, coughing, muscle aches, sore throat, and headache), you should stay home for at least seven days, and three days with no fever and improvement of respiratory symptoms—whichever is longer. (Your fever should be gone for three days without using fever-reducing medicine.)

For example, if you have a fever and cough for four days, you need to stay home three more days with no fever for a total of seven days. Or, if you have a fever and cough for five days, you need to stay home three more days with no fever for a total of eight days.

  • If you have symptoms and can manage those symptoms at home, you do not have to seek health care or be tested for COVID-19. Just stay home while you are sick. If you are older or have underlying medical conditions, it may be helpful to let your health care provider know you are sick. They may have some specific advice for you. Some people with COVID-19 have worsened during the second week of illness. If your symptoms worsen at any point, and you do need to see a doctor, call ahead before going to any healthcare facility.
  • Patients with symptoms who are not able to be tested should isolate themselves from household and intimate contacts as much as possible. Household and intimate contacts of these individuals should limit their activities in public for 14 days after incorporating precautions in the home, and monitor symptoms. Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure.
  • If you were told by public health staff that you were exposed to COVID-19 and feel healthy, stay home for 14 days. Again, testing is only being done for hospitalized patients, health care workers, and those in congregate living settings at this time.
  • If you do have the symptoms listed above, please call one of the numbers below before going to any health care facility:
    • RiverView Health: 218-470-7983, 24/7 Coronavirus Nurse Screening Hotline
    • Altru Health System: 701-780-6358, 24/7 Coronavirus Screening Hotline

Go to for more information on COVID-19 by the Minnesota Department of Health.