When to get a COVID-19 Test

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please call Ask-A-Nurse at 507.457.2292 and self-report. From there, you will receive further testing guidance. 

If you have come in close contact with the virus (being within 6 feet for 15 minutes; regardless of if a mask was worn) it is recommended to get tested 3-5 days after exposure, regardless of vaccination status.

If you are planning on traveling, several airlines even require a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding. It is recommended to get tested 1-3 days prior to traveling if you are unvaccinated. It is required to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours when flying back into the United States ffrom another country.

Once you return from a trip, it is recommended to get tested 3-5 days after you return. Check out our safe travel tips for more travel guidance.


Where to Get Tested

WSU Health Services

WSU Health & Wellness Services offers COVID-19 tests to those who are symptomatic or have been in close contact with a confirmed case.

It’s best to be tested by WSU Health Services because then the staff can get started to contain, trace, and stop the spread on campus faster.

You will also receive great follow-up care and guidance tailored to college students.

Getting a test is 100% free. If your insurance doesn’t cover the full cost, WSU will cover the rest.

Please call ahead by calling Ask-A-Nurse at 507.457.2292 or schedule an appointment with WSU Health Services at 507.457.5160.

Remember to bring your insurance card or information to your appointment.


  • Who: Students experiencing symptoms | Students who have been in close contact with a positive case
  • Where: IWC COVID Nook
  • When: Mon–Fri, 8:30–10AM & 1-2:30PM
  • Cost: Free after insurance

Winona Mall Testing Site

The Minnesota Department of Health has a COVID-19 saliva testing site located at the Winona Mall.

Anyone who wants a COVID-19 test can get one and the tests are completely free after insurance.

This is a great option if you want to get tested before traveling and are asymptomatic because it’s easy, fast and free. The PCR saliva tests are as accurate as nasal COVID tests.

According to Vault Health, PCR saliva tests are 99% effective in detecting COVID-19 (meaning there is a 1% rate of false positives and false negatives).

Walk-ins are accepted, but you are encouraged to schedule an appointment. Please bring any insurance information and identification with you.


  • Who: Anyone – you do not need to have symptoms
  • Where: 1213 Gilmore Ave – entrance is on the HWY 61-facing side, near the DMV
  • When: Mon–Thurs, 11AM–6PM
  • Cost: Free after insurance

Winona Health

Winona Health offers symptomatic and asymptomatic testing at their clinic. Please dress for the weather in case the line extends outside the building.

  • Who: Anyone – you do not need to have symptoms
  • Where: 855 Mankato Ave
    Parkview Office Building – Mon–Fri
    Urgent Care – Sat & Sun
  • When: Mon–Fri 7AM–5PM & Sat–Sun, 8AM–5PM
  • Cost: Free after insurance

If you need a test outside these hours, you can go to Winona Health Urgent Care.


Hy-Vee also offers asymptomatic COVID-19 testing in Winona. At this location, you will self-administer a nasal COVID-19 test, which will be mailed to a clinical lab to be tested.

Register for a COVID-19 test at Winona Hy-Vee.


  • Who: Anyone — you don’t need to have symptoms
  • Where: 1475 Service Drive, at the Pharmacy Drive-Thru
  • When: Tues. & Thurs. from 8–10 am | Sat 9–11am
  • Cost: Free after insurance

Rochester COVID-19 Testing Sites

Mayo Clinic patients
Mayo Clinic patients call the COVID-19 Nurse Line at 507-293-9525. 

Olmsted Medical Center patients
Olmsted Medical Center patients call the COVID-19 Nurse Line at 507-292-7266. 

People should not go to a COVID-19 testing location without an appointment. If people do not have a primary care provider but are in need of testing, they should call either of the COVID-19 triage lines provided above.  


  • Mayo Clinic patients
    3033 41st St NW
    First Floor
    Rochester, MN 55901 

Open Mon–Thurs 9AM–7PM, Fri & Sat 9AM–5PM

  • Olmsted Medical Center patients
    FastCare North Testing Center
    102 Elton HIlls Dr. NW
    Suite 200
    Rochester, MN 55901 

Open 8AM–4:55PM Mon–Fri.

Bring with you 

  • A cell phone (you will need it to check in from your car) 
  • Your medical insurance information (if you have it) 

Stay in your Car 

  • After you arrive, stay in your car. 
  • Call from your car to check in for your appointment. 
  • Mayo Clinic appointments, call 507-422-5250. 
  • Olmsted Medical Center appointments call the phone number that is displayed on a banner across the windows of the building. 
  • Wait in your car for a text message or phone call telling you that you can enter the building. 


Free after insurance. 

If you do not have health insurance, tell the person when you make the appointment. They can give you information about your options.

Walgreens Pharmacy

Walgreens Pharmacy in Winona & Rochester has Drive-Thru COVID-19 testing available by appointment only. The COVID-19 tests are self-administered with instructional guidance from a pharmacist.

You can schedule a COVID-19 test through their website up to two days in advance and select the time of your appointment. Appointment times vary on locations.

  • Walgreens Winona: 750 Mankato Ave, Winona
  • Walgreens Rochester: 80 14th St. SW, Rochester & 1112 Civic Center Drive NW, Rochester

At-Home Testing

The State of Minnesota is offering a free at-home saliva test so you can get tested in the comfort of your own home!

If students have a Minnesota address, they can receive this PCR saliva test at no cost as well.

Learn more and order your mail in COVID-19 test.


  • Who: Any Minnesota resident – you do not need to have symptoms
  • Where: At home with mail delivery
  • When: At your convenience
  • Cost: Free 

Minnesota COVID-19 Testing Finder

Wisconsin COVID-19 Testing Finder

Illinois COVID-19 Testing Finder

After Your Test

Until you get your COVID-19 test results, you should quarantine if you were a close contact or isolate if you have symptoms.  If you are asymptomatic and getting a test for screening purposes, it is still advisable to do a modified quarantine to prevent further exposure from you to others or others to you and becoming infected while awaiting results.

It’s easy to get post-test glee when you get the call that your results are negative. But you have to remember that these test results represent only that moment when you took the test.

Just because you’re negative for COVID-19 right now, you could catch the virus tomorrow. In order to keep your results negative, you need to continue to lay low and quarantine before going home.

Self-Report Your Test to WSU

It’s important that you share your test results with WSU’s Health and Wellness Services so that we can contain the spread and keep our campus and community safe.

We’re counting on you to self-report so everyone can have their best semester.


If you are experiencing symptoms or have tested for COVID-19 at an off-campus site, please fill out the self-report form.

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Amy Nelson

Amy Nelson graduated in 2020 with a degree in Art: I-Design. As a student, she worked with the University Marketing & Communications team as a writer and photographer. She was hired after graduation to support public health communications during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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