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Swamped Children's Hospitals To Parents: Get Kids COVID Tested At Pharmacies, MDH Sites

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Testing for COVID-19 is up dramatically this month, as Minnesotans comply with requirements for work, school and travel and cases have been on the rise.

But where people choose to get tested is creating some problems.

Parents are packing the emergency room at Children's Minnesota for routine COVID-19 tests. The hospital says its ERs are filled with COVID-19 and RSV cases. It's asking families seeking routine COVID-19 tests to "go to local retail pharmacies or one of the many Minnesota Department of Health sites."

Overall testing is up in the wake of the Delta variant surge. On June 29, the state recorded almost 8,000 COVID-19 tests. Three months later on Sept. 29, there were more than 33,000 tests.

Grace Taylor got tested at the Minneapolis Convention Center because she has symptoms.

MDH COVID Testing Site Sign
(credit: CBS)

"It went really smoothly, you just walked in," Taylor said.

Barb Atkinson got tested because her teen daughter's school friend has COVID-19.

"We decided as a family we're all going to get tested, just to be on the safe side," Atkinson said.

WCCO also stopped by a Minneapolis CVS testing site. Though no patients were there at the time, workers say there can be lines of 50 people trying to get their test. Tests are mostly by appointment, but if it's empty they will take walk-ins.

Ben Oppitz brought his son Thursday to a Brooklyn Park testing site.

"He does have symptoms, he's got a sore throat and headache ... and I know there have been symptoms in the schools," Oppitz said. "[The testing] went very smooth. I think we were in there 15 minutes at the most."

On Thursday, MDH reported 2,874 new COVID-19 cases and 13 deaths.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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