Because of a testing backlog at Mayo Clinic, it’s taking some Becker County residents up to 10 days to get the results of their COVID-19 tests,according to Becker County Administrator Mike Brethorst, who got the information from the county Public Health Department. ,

Brethorst added that both Essentia Health and Sanford Health are sending their patient samples to Mayo Clinic for testing.

“What good does this test do anyone if you can’t get the test results back more quickly?” Commissioner Barry Nelson asked during Tuesday's meeting of the Becker County Commission. “I know someone who self-quarantined for nine days, took the time off from work, and then found out they didn’t have it."

Commissioners called the wait time "ridiculous" and "frustrating," noting that in Mahnomen County, some residents are getting their test results back the same day.

"There are different types of tests,” Brethorst said, “but most of the tests are being sent down to Mayo Clinic in Rochester (and) the results are taking longer because of the backlog of people."

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However, Commissioners John Okeson and Larry Knutson both noted that local wait times vary, since they both know people who got their test results back in just a day or two.

As of Tuesday there were an estimated 15 active COVID-19 cases in Becker County, out of 81 total cases in the county.

Mask police

Minnesota now requires that people wear face masks or coverings when they are inside public places, and businesses will be the first line of defense in enforcing that new requirement, said Detroit Lakes Police Chief Steve Todd.

“As you know, we do not have the resources to absorb that extensive responsibility,” he said Thursday. “That said, if a business requests a person leave the business for not wearing a mask, and the person refuses, we will respond and investigate the incident as a trespassing situation.”

The Minnesota Department of Health is doing periodic checks of restaurants and bars and noting any violation of COVID-19 safety requirements, such as employees not wearing face masks, Brethorst said. In most cases, they are just educating management and employees about the emergency rules, but “if it continues, they can shut down businesses for 48 hours for (people) not wearing masks,” he said.