News & Updates

COVID-19 UPDATE 1/26/22

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Every day SCMC employees rise above and deal with a new daily onset of challenges. Every day they put themselves on the front lines to give the best care we possibly can. After 22+ months of this pandemic, we are asking you to help us help you

As you all are aware, Omicron is a highly contagious strain of the virus and has proven to be very effective at spreading. Recently 38% of tests collected at SCMC are coming back positive for infection, this by far is the highest positivity rate we have seen during the pandemic.  As cases rise, the increase in demand for hospital resources follows. Our healthcare capacity is stretched very thin and the demands on it are expected to worsen, supplies are drastically affected and our workforce is at continued risk of increased absences which does affect the care we can provide to our community because of those staffing numbers. We have testing available but have seen some disruption in the ability to obtain supplies in the past couple of weeks. 

There is scientific evidence that the risk of severe disease is much less if you are vaccinated. While the Omicron variant appears to cause less severe disease on the population level, individual cases still range from no/mild symptoms to severe resulting in hospitalization and death. This range of illnesses has been true for every variant during the pandemic. We have modified the masks requirements at SCMC to medical-grade vs cloth masks for all individuals entering SCMC due to the high transmissibility of Omicron.  

Ways you can help us help you:

👉 The best way to arm yourself against Omicron is to get vaccinated and boosted. SCMC offers the vaccine for ages 5 and up and booster for ages 12 and up. You can sign up here.

👉Stay home when you are sick. 

👉If you are high risk or have severe symptoms don’t delay in seeking care.

👉Mask up with as high-quality mask as you can obtain.

SCMC Testing

For people who have a known exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, we encourage them to follow Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) quarantine guidelines and practice strict mask wearing for the entire 10 days. If symptoms develop, a test can be scheduled. 

SCMC has testing available Monday-Friday between 8 am – noon. You don’t need to see a provider to be tested, but you do need to call for an appointment at (320) 589-7636.

  • If you are symptomatic or had a close contact exposure and don’t need to see a provider, you can call for an appointment (320) 589-7636, and go to the Northside of SCMC by the Urgent & Respiratory Clinic entrance. Please look for the large red sign, call or text (320) 349-0166 and wait in your vehicle for directions.
  • NOTE: If you are asymptomatic and it is for work, travel or pre-op surgical procedures, you can go to the main entrance to check-in. A lab appointment is still required.
  • MDH has a FREE community COVID testing site at Morris Armory from 11am-6pm Monday – Friday. Walk-ins are welcome or Schedule a Test

If you are unsure if you need a test or need to talk to someone about your symptoms you can call your primary provider.

What type of COVID-19 test should I take?

In general, there are two types of diagnostic tests for COVID-19: molecular and antigen. At SCMC, we focus on molecular testing. These tests detect the virus’s genetic material and are considered highly accurate. You might hear these tests referred to as a “PCR” amongst others. Although results are typically available within 72 hours, it may take longer to get results, depending on the volumes of tests being conducted.

On the other hand, antigen tests look for specific proteins on the surface of the virus. These tests are often done at community sites, businesses, or at home. While they can produce results quickly, they may not be as accurate. However, a positive antigen test is considered a probable case of COVID-19.

For more information about COVID-19 tests, visit: