Saying she wanted to know if she was an asymptomatic carrier, Duluth Mayor Emily Larson took part in the free COVID-19 testing at the Duluth Armory that lasts through 5 p.m. Monday.

"While I am being careful and limiting my contact and interactions outside of my house, I chose to get tested because I want to know if I am an asymptomatic carrier," Larson wrote on Facebook. "And knowing that I am not 'taking a test away' from someone else is what got me to go in."

The testing conducted at locations throughout the state by the Minnesota National Guard has been the first free, no-symptoms-required testing in the Twin Ports. Previous testing in Solon Springs, Wisconsin, required that people have symptoms prior to attending.

Spc. Kianna Bassett (left) of St. Cloud with the Army National Guard and Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Benedict with the Air National Guard prepare to give a COVID-19 test at the Duluth Armory Saturday morning. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)
Spc. Kianna Bassett (left) of St. Cloud with the Army National Guard and Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Benedict with the Air National Guard prepare to give a COVID-19 test at the Duluth Armory Saturday morning. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

"It’s free and easy and I encourage you to consider it," Larson wrote.

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While the testing is designed to not take test kits away from essential workers or people experiencing acute symptoms, Lasron said it does help the state and community know more about where COVID-19 is "and whether or not you are an asymptomatic, or symptomatic, carrier at this time."

"While I am limiting my contact and being careful, I will begin being more public in the coming days and weeks and wanted to rule out my exhaustion as simply being a part of the job of 'Mayoring During a Pandemic,'" Larson wrote.

Larson noted in her post that ID is not required and that questions were not asked about race, identity, citizenship or immigration. There were several options for gender and that was an optional question, she said.

She noted the now-familiar discomfort with the 5-second swabbing process, and said she'll receive results over her cellphone, which she gave as her contact number.

"The site is staffed by National Guard members in uniform who are all wearing visors, masks, gloves," she wrote, adding that all pertinent guidelines were practiced and that it was "really impressive, professional and felt safe. Everyone was really kind."

Larson said it took her less than 15 minutes with no wait time, having attended in the afternoon on Friday. Testing location is the Duluth Armory, 4015 Airpark Boulevard, and testing is available to Minnesota residents.