You can do it yourself now.  Essentia Health has made changes to the way it performs COVID-19 testing at their facilities and clinics, migrating to a "self-swab" method.

The medical facility is promoting the switch as a means of streamlining the process; it also takes some of the workload off of Essentia's staff, letting them concentrate on other medical procedures and visits. Additionally, it would free up medical resources in the event that COVID cases and numbers surge in the area.

Here's how it works.  Patients who are looking for a COVID-19 test schedule their appointment via the usual methods; calling for an appointment or using Essentia's online MyChart dashboard are the two most-common means.

When the patient arrives at the Essentia clinic at their scheduled time, a staff member will give them a self-swab testing kit at check in.  The patient will then take that kit back to their vehicle, conduct the nasal swab, and return the completed kit back to the designated collection location at the site.  Each kit comes with complete testing instructions which are easy to follow.

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In the announcement of the change, Essentia suggests that the entire process will take around 15 minutes - from start to finish. That quick turn around is all part of the efforts to make the bets use of resources.

Essentia does recommend that patients who are concerned about symptoms or those who are looking for other medical services should schedule an in-person appointment with their health care provider.  If you're an existing Essentia patient and want to arrange an appointment, click here to get started.

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