More than 8,000 tests have been for asymptomatic community members who participated in protests, vigils or other neighborhood events
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — In its ongoing effort to contain COVID-19, HealthPartners this week tested its 50,000th patient since it began testing in March. About 8,000 people were asymptomatic and received tests after participating in large community gatherings, following recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health.
This short-term temporary expansion of testing was among the largest number of asymptomatic tests administered in the Twin Cities in the last two weeks. The number of tests in this category reached a daily high of 1,484 on June 8 and declined to 488 on June 17.
“The pandemic as well as the protests following the murder of George Floyd have impacted our community in unprecedented ways,” said Andrea Walsh, president and CEO of HealthPartners. “Our team has responded quickly and with urgency to make sure our patients and the community have access to the testing.”
More tests, faster results, safe re-opening
This milestone reflects a major overhaul to how HealthPartners obtained and processed COVID-19 tests. Since May 1, the health system has offered drive-up testing at eight locations around the metro area and western Minnesota. These include testing locations in St. Paul, Stillwater, St. Louis Park, White Bear Lake, Plymouth, Lakeville, Hutchinson and Olivia.
The widespread locations increased testing capacity to more than 2,000 patients per day to serve a diverse population. Ten of HealthPartners highest testing days occurred in the past two weeks, including a single-day high of nearly 3,000 patients.
In addition to its numerous locations, HealthPartners’ ability to process tests in-house through its own lab allowed for quick – and dramatic – ramp-up testing. HealthPartners’ labs process tests in 48 hours or less, mostly using in-house capabilities. At Methodist and Regions Hospitals, which are helping process tests for HealthPartners’ three St. Croix Valley hospitals, the health system increased capacity to perform 150 rapid tests each day, providing results in two hours or less for urgent cases. Hutchinson and Olivia hospitals combined can perform 40 tests per day within four hours.
HealthPartners is the largest consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization in the nation with a mission to improve health and well-being in partnership with members, patients and the community. For more information, visit healthpartners.com.