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Essentia Health moves to self-swab tests for COVID-19

Essentia Health is switching to self-swab tests for COVID-19 due to the high demand for testing and a large amount of COVID cases in the region according to the health care provider.

COVID-19 testing in New Orleans
A person uses a nasal swab to provide a sample to be tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as cases surge across the state, in New Orleans on Aug. 4, 2021. REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare

Essentia Health changed its COVID-testing procedure effective immediately because of the high number of COVID-19 cases in the region and the demand for testing, according to officials.

Patients who schedule a COVID test at an Essentia clinic will receive a kit to do their own test.

RELATED: Essentia Health implements clinic visitor restrictions

This is for patients who want a test only and are not scheduling a routine visit with their provider.

Patients must schedule a test at their Essentia clinic in their region. They can do so through Essentia’s MyChart patient portal, by calling their local clinic or scheduling an e-visit.


Once the patient arrives at their appointment, they receive a test kit and can return to their vehicle to perform a nasal swab. (Instructions are provided with the kit). They will return the sample to the designated collection location. The entire process should take about 15 minutes.

RELATED: ‘It’s simple. Get vaccinated’: Crow Wing administrator urges holdouts to get the shot as cases rise There is one way to avoid potential impacts on the local community, Houle added, should the variant take hold: vaccination.
The self-swab tests enhance the ability to provide increased access to safe and timely COVID-19 testing to help meet the growing demand in the communities Essentia serves.

The shutdown of many government testing sites funneled more patients into Essentia’s clinics, creating challenges for the health care provider’s staff and patients, according to Essentia officials.

Patients concerned about symptoms should still seek a video visit on demand through MyChart, an in-person appointment with a primary care provider or at urgent care.

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