Essentia Health expands COVID-19 testing

Testing now includes anyone with symptoms

Essentia Health expanded its testing criteria to include all patients who have symptoms of COVID-19, in accordance with Gov. Tim Walz’s request Thursday, April 23, and to better control the spread of the novel coronavirus.

This change is effective immediately at all Essentia Health testing sites.

Anyone experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, including fever, cough or shortness of breath, should start an e-visit at . E-visits are free for patients with COVID-19 symptoms. Patients can also call Essentia Health’s hotline at 833-494-0836. An Essentia provider will evaluate symptoms and, if necessary, refer patients for a test.

Testing was previously limited to specific groups of people, such as first responders, health care workers, patients over 65 and those with underlying health conditions, per guidelines. That will change as Walz calls for health care providers to ramp up capacity to as many as 20,000 tests per day statewide. Essentia Health is poised to meet that challenge, officials said in a news release.

A list of Essentia Health testing sites is also available at . These sites are only for patients who have first obtained a medical order for testing through an e-visit or the COVID-19 hotline. More testing sites might be added in the future.


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Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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