(BLOOMINGTON, Minn.) — Beginning today (Monday) HealthPartners is increasing its laboratory capacity to more than 2,000 COVID-19 tests a day, which officials say is a seven-fold increase since April 22, when Gov. Tim Walz announced plans to significantly increase state testing capabilities.
The organization has created new high-volume, drive-up testing sites in St. Louis Park and White Bear Lake where care teams can test 300-400 symptomatic patients a day.
In addition, capacity has been increased at existing drive-up testing locations in Plymouth, Lakeville, St. Paul, Stillwater, Hutchinson, and Olivia where more than 6,000 tests have been performed since mid-March.
With the additional capacity, HealthPartners will now be able to test 2,000 patients every day.
“Expanding access to COVID-19 testing will help us slow the spread of disease, and support the health and safety of our patients, members and colleagues in health care,” said Andrea Walsh, President and CEO of HealthPartners. “We look forward to working with the state and other care systems as we continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Testing begins with screening
Starting today, HealthPartners will offer tests by appointment for all symptomatic patients. Patients begin the process by calling their clinic for a short screening assessment. Based on symptom severity and risk factors, patients will be:
· scheduled directly at a drive-up testing location (appointment required);
· referred for an in-person visit and testing at a HealthPartners respiratory center; or
· referred to a clinician for additional evaluation.
The screening assessment helps patients quickly get the right care for their needs, and it’s more convenient for the majority of people because most won’t need the additional step of scheduling an appointment with their clinician before testing. Early next week, this same screening also will be available online at virtuwell.com and healthpartners.com.
“Testing symptomatic patients is the first step toward understanding the total burden of COVID-19,” said Dr. Mark Sannes, Senior Medical Director, HealthPartners. “Moving forward, we will be partnering with the Minnesota Department of Health on the important next step of contact tracing and quarantine of exposed individuals.”