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Does M Health Fairview offer COVID-19 testing?

There are two types of COVID-19 testing – diagnostic (also called PCR or viral) and serologic (antibody) testing. The diagnostic test indicates whether someone is currently infected with the virus. This is done by testing for its presence in respiratory samples. The antibody test uses a blood sample to determine whether an individual has developed an immune response to the virus. If the test if positive, it is a sign of a past infection.

Learn more about the difference between diagnostic and serologic testing.

Diagnostic Testing

Does M Health Fairview currently offer COVID-19 diagnostic testing?

Yes, we are currently conducting diagnostic testing for adults and children at eight drive-up testing sites across the Twin Cities. In Minnesota and nationwide, tests and supplies are limited. We are working to expand our testing capacity. Anyone exhibiting any of the following COVID-19 symptoms is a candidate for testing: 

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • New muscle or body aches
  • New headache
  • New loss of taste of smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • New and unexplained nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • New and unexplained fatigue
  • Poor feeding (pediatric patients)

Are you offering testing  for people without COVID-19 symptoms?

M Health Fairview is working quickly to ramp up testing for people who are not displaying COVID-19 symptoms, but national shortages of lab testing supplies require us to continue prioritizing testing for certain groups. These priority asymptomatic groups include patients admitted to our care facilities; patients scheduled for surgical procedures; patients who reside in congregate living facilities such as nursing homes or group homes; those who have taken part in mass gatherings such as protests, vigils, or neighborhood clean-ups; and others.

How can I be evaluated for possible diagnostic testing?

Appointments are required for testing. Individuals must first be screened by a provider and pre-approved for testing. If you are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, please visit, our 24/7 virtual clinic to be screened. Our care team will evaluate your symptoms, provide a care plan, and help you set up a testing appointment.

If you or a member of your family is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is having difficulty breathing, please contact a medical provider. Other emergency warning signs can include persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, and bluish lips or face. Learn more about COVID-19 symptoms and when to seek help.

How does the diagnostic testing process work?

Qualifying patients who have already been evaluated by our virtual care team will be scheduled for an appointment at one of our eight drive-up test collection centers. Collection involves swabbing deep inside the nose. People who test negative will receive their results via MyChart or U.S. mail in seven to 10 days. People with positive results will receive a phone call from our care team within three days.

Will my insurance cover COVID-19 diagnostic testing?

If you need COVID-19 testing, many Minnesota health plans are covering out-of-pocket patient costs. Please check with your insurer to understand your potential out-of-pocket costs according to your plan benefits. The charge for M Health Fairview to administer the test is $110.

What happens if I test positive?

Most people with COVID-19 experience a mild illness and will recover at home, and our care team can guide you online or by phone. A smaller number of people with more severe illness may need additional medical support or hospital care.  

If you test positive, follow the care instructions you receive from our team. Plan to self-quarantine until all of the following have occurred: 

  • At least 10 days have passed since the onset of your symptoms 
  • Your fever has subsided for at least three days (72 hours) without the use of fever-reducing medications  
  • Other symptoms have improved or ended 

Serologic (Antibody) Testing

Should I consider antibody testing? What do results indicate?

You should consider this testing if you need to know whether you have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. This may include people who had symptoms and were unable to undergo diagnostic testing at the time that they were sick. It may also include people who have not been sick since the COVID-19 outbreak began but are concerned that they have been exposed. Keep in mind that antibodies to viruses don’t develop for at least two weeks after the initial exposure or infection. In some people, antibodies don’t develop at all.  

The results of a COVID-19 antibody test can help people understand whether they have been infected. It is not yet known whether those with antibodies to the virus causing COVID-19 are immune to future infection from it. Therefore, the results of antibody testing should not change behavior around social distancing and other strategies designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

When should I seek antibody testing instead of diagnostic testing?

Only the diagnostic test – not the antibody test – can identify an active COVID-19 infection, so anyone with current COVID-19 symptoms should seek diagnostic testing. (See above for details.) People can consider antibody testing to understand if they may have been exposed to or infected with COVID-19 in the past, as long as the exposure or infection happened more than 14 days ago.  

We do not yet know whether the presence of antibodies is associated with a reduced risk of future COVID-19 infection. No matter your antibody testing results, you should still practice social distancing and other preventive measures to reduce COVID-19 spread.  

Given the limits of antibody testing, why is M Health Fairview developing capacity for it?

Antibody testing can yield important public health information about COVID-19 transmission through a large group of people. This information can, in turn, help M Health Fairview and the Minnesota Department of Health develop better protections to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  

How does the testing process work?

There are currently two ways for individuals to receive an antibody (serology) test: testing via referral, and walk-in retail testing.

To be tested via referral:

Contact 1-855-FAIRVIEW (324-7843) and ask to receive a COVID-19 antibody test. A registered nurse will take callers through a simple, over-the-phone screening process. During this process, you will be asked to provide details on potential COVID-19 exposure. After this initial screening, our care team will call those who meet the criteria for antibody testing to schedule a blood draw at one of our M Health Fairview locations. Those with certain symptoms may be evaluated for diagnostic testing rather than antibody testing. You may also receive scheduling prioritization based on your symptoms, exposure details, or other factors. Your insurance will be billed for this service.

To be tested via walk-in retail testing:

Retail antibody testing is also available at several M Health Fairview sites without a preliminary screening and referral. No appointment is needed. Simply walk in to one of the Express Lab sites listed below. Recipients pay up front, have a quick blood draw taken, and receive results in the mail in three to five days.

For $45, an individual can order a standard antibody test which identifies whether COVID-19 antibodies are present. Or, for $55, they can choose a test that measures antibody presence and antibody levels. Our on-site testing staff will help you select the option that is best for your circumstances.

Antibody testing is available at the following locations: