Even as Minnesotans continue to push back COVID-19 through vaccination and other measures, health officials today said COVID-19 testing will remain a key tool in the coming months to help Minnesota keep the virus at bay. To underscore this point, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is offering updated guidance for who should get tested and when.

Minnesotans ages 12 and older are eligible to get vaccinated, and they should take advantage of this protection as the best way to end their pandemic worries, Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said. However, with the virus still circulating in communities and many people still susceptible, COVID-19 testing remains an important tool in keeping the virus from spreading to those who are unvaccinated. This is particularly important for those younger than 12, who are not yet eligible for the vaccine.

“Thanks to the nearly 3 million Minnesotans who have been vaccinated, we’ve been able to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Commissioner Malcolm said. “But with variants continuing to circulate, the pandemic is not over, especially if you or your children are not vaccinated yet. That means testing can still be a very important tool.”

The updated MDH guidance includes the following key points:

  • People who are not fully vaccinated should get tested if they are in contact with someone who has COVID-19. 
  • People who are not fully vaccinated should also get tested every two weeks if they have frequent contact with people outside their household, or if they participate in activities where social distancing may not be possible.
  • People who are not fully vaccinated should get tested after travel within the U.S.
  • Vaccinated or not, anyone who travels internationally should get tested upon returning to Minnesota.

People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or two weeks after Johnson & Johnson.