Essentia Health expands testing for COVID-19
Criteria for test broadens to include all people with symptoms.
Two days after Gov. Tim Walz addressed bringing more testing to the state, Essentia Health announced Friday that it has immediately expanded its testing criteria to include all patients who have symptoms of COVID-19. The change comes "in accordance" with Walz's request and is effective immediately at all sites in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota.
Testing requires a person to register for a visit either online or over the phone and a physician referral.
"If you are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, including fever, cough or shortness of breath, please start an E-Visit," an Essentia Health news release said. "An Essentia provider will evaluate your symptoms and, if necessary, refer you for a test."
The hospital system encourages residents to register for an E-Visit at essentiahealth.org . E-Visits are free for patients with COVID-19 symptoms. Patients also can call a hotline at 833-494-0836.
Previously, testing was limited to specific groups of people, such as first responders, health care workers, patients over age 65 and those with underlying health conditions.
But Walz called for health care providers to ramp up capacity to as many as 20,000 tests per day statewide.
"At Essentia, we are poised to meet this challenge," the news release said.
Testing sites are available online. Sites are only for patients who have first obtained a medical order for testing through an E-Visit or the COVID-19 hotline.
Essentia is evaluating additional locations and may change its list of testing sites in the future, it said.
Patients won’t be billed for costs related to COVID-19 testing, including balances after insurance is billed, such as co-pays or deductibles. It also includes uninsured patients.
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