MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Now that Christmas is over, concern about the highly-transmissible Omicron variant had many Minnesotans trying to find a COVID-19 test.
Lexy Noer endured the long line outside the state-run community testing site in Lino Lakes Monday. She went there to get tested after she woke up with cold symptoms and loss of taste.
“By about 11 a.m. when doors opened, I’d say that line was probably almost 100-people deep,” Noer said.
With the Omicron variant causing more breakthrough cases, health experts are reminding people what to do — and not do — if you get a positive test. Kris Ehresmann is an infectious disease expert with the Minnesota Department of Health.
“Isolate, which means staying home, staying away from others, and within your home you need to say away from your other household contact,” Ehresmann said. “And if it’s possible if you have this option to use a separate bathroom that you use and keep yourself out of circulation.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Monday that it has halved its isolation guidance for people who test positive but don’t have symptoms from 10 days to five days. It recommends people then continue to be masked while around others for another five days.
If you do have symptoms, MDH recommends waiting at least 10 days since your first symptom, and make sure you’re fever-free for 24 hours without medication.
When it comes to testing after holiday parties, Ehresmann has this advice.
“If you were part of a large gathering, lots of people, people weren’t taking precautions, then certainly getting tested after that event makes sense,” she said. “If you were, you know, getting together with people, you knew everybody’s vaccination status, you were masked, then it’s kind of up to you if you want to get tested.”
You can order a vault saliva test online to be sent to your home. They are free, but do take a little longer. Once the lab gets your test you should get results in one to two days.
Monday’s latest numbers pushed Minnesota’s total case count since the start of the pandemic to over one million. While most people recovered, more than 10,000 did not.
Wisconsin isn’t far behind, with 961,000 total cases and 9,900 deaths.