ROCHESTER, Minn. — The state of Minnesota is approaching the 2 million mark.

With 1,940,560 residents having been tested for COVID-19 as of Thursday, Nov. 5, at the current pace, the state's health systems will very likely have tested over 2 million residents for COVID-19 by the weekend.

That comes out to more than a third of the population.

Health officials also announced an additional 3,956 cases for the day, in 85 of the state's 87 counties. With 2,010 outside of the seven-county metro area, half of the day's cases were recorded in greater Minnesota, which has 45% of the state population. Wright, Stearns, Sherburne and Olmsted counties all posted case numbers in excess of 100 for a single day.

The state recorded 25 deaths on Thursday, bringing the statewide total to 2,555. Seventeen were residents of long-term care. The deaths were all recorded among residents in the 70s through their 90s.

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The 2 million milestone is evidence that testing remains a cornerstone of the public health response to COVID-19 in the state, which has developed the capacity to test 60,000 persons daily and is currently averaging only half of that amount.

Determining and reporting who has the illness with quick turnaround time — not always a given — leads to isolation of the sick and those exposed, slowing the spread.

Though new therapies and the hope for a vaccine retain their grip on the public imagination, nations such as New Zealand have brought COVID-19 to its knees through the robust implementation of testing, tracing, masking and social distancing.

Continuing their focus on testing, state health officials Thursday announced that saliva testing clinics will be noon to 6 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday, Nov. 8-10, in Burnsville and Stillwater, and during the same time slot on Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 9 and 10, in Morris and Owatonna.

Health officials have previously held mobile testing clinics in Aitkin, Alexandria, Anoka, Bemidji, Bloomington, Burnsville, Cambridge, Cloquet, Crookston, Ely, Fairmont, Faribault, Fergus Falls, Grand Rapids, Inver Grove Heights, Little Falls, Luverne, Madison, Maplewood, Marshall, Montevideo, Monticello, Moorhead, Mora, Pine City, Pipestone, Red Wing, St. Cloud, St. Joseph, Thief River Falls, Tyler, Waconia, Waseca and Willmar.

Officials say that anyone who wishes to be tested is encouraged to come to salva testing centers, even if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and that no insurance or identification is needed.

To avoid long lines, people are encouraged to pre-register for a time slot, however. For registration or details on locations the MDH COVID-19 Nasal Swab Community Testing webpage can help. Those who are unable to sign up online or need interpretation can call 1-855-612-0677 for assistance.

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  • Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 651-201-3920.
  • COVID-19 discrimination hotline: 833-454-0148
  • Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 website: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) website.