St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Governor Tim Walz was joined by representatives of the Mayo Clinic and the University this afternoon to announce the launch of a statewide testing strategy to test up to 20,000 people per day for COVID-19.

Dr. William Morice from the Mayo Clinic appeared at the news conference with the governor, who says the push to test all symptomatic people will help control the pandemic and bring about the safe reopening of Minnesota's economy. The strategy includes isolating people with confirmed cases of the illness and expanding public health surveillance tools.

“When Minnesota faces a challenge, we rise up—together,” Governor Walz said. “I’m proud to partner with Minnesota’s innovative health care systems and leading research institutions to pioneer how states can begin to move forward amid COVID-19.”

$36-million from the COVID-19 Minnesota fund created by the State Legislature will be used to help cover the cost of the expanded testing. The state is teaming up with the Mayo Clinic to create a central lab for the testing and a virtual command center to monitor testing needs and deploy rapid responses to outbreaks.

“Mayo Clinic has been leading the nation in COVID-19 testing since the pandemic’s emergence. As always, Mayo Clinic continues to put Minnesota first,” said William Morice, M.D., PhD, President of Mayo Clinic Laboratories. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayo Clinic has prioritized Minnesota’s needs, offering the state unlimited access to Mayo’s unmatched testing capabilities and providing assistance and expertise whenever asked. Mayo’s commitment continues today as we pledge further support for Minnesota’s statewide testing strategy.”

Minnesota News Network

State officials say the coronavirus testing will initially focus on vulnerable populations, including people in congregate living situations, the homeless, people working with those populations, health care workers, minority populations found to face a higher risk of infection, and workers involved in areas considered critical infrastructure.

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