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Essentia Health reminding people of best practices for COVID-19 testing

If you are having mild cold symptoms and aren’t sure if it’s COVID, please do not go to emergency departments or urgent care centers for a COVID test. But if your symptoms are severe and you believe you have a medical emergency, “we are here to care for you,” Essentia said in a news release.

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The Abbott BixnaxNOW test is one of the least-expensive at-home COVID-19 tests available. Hannah Norman / KHN

With COVID-19 cases on the rise due to the highly transmissible omicron variant, Essentia Health is encouraging people to get tested using one of its various testing methods.

If you are having mild cold symptoms and aren’t sure if it’s COVID, please do not go to emergency departments or urgent care centers for a COVID test.

Seek testing at your clinic, at one of the many state sites or use an at-home test kit. Please keep our emergency departments and staff available for medical emergencies.

If your symptoms are severe and you believe you have a medical emergency, “we are here to care for you,” Essentia said in a news release.

Right now, patients can schedule a COVID test at one of our clinics. Once there, they will receive a kit to collect their own sample for testing. This is for patients who want a test only and are not scheduling a routine visit with their provider.

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

Once the patient has arrived at their scheduled appointment, they can check in, receive a test kit and perform the simple nasal swab in their vehicle (instructions provided). They will return the sample to the designated collection location. The entire process should take about 15 minutes.

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

More information about scheduling a test through Essentia can be found here .

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