Sanford Health testing protocols for Northern MN

Sanford Health can perform COVID-19 testing at all of their primary care and walk-in clinics in Kelliher, Blackduck, Bemidji, Bagley, Clearbrook, Cass Lake, Walker and Park Rapids.

There are alternative collection sites in Bemidji, Walker and Park Rapids. At these locations, a patient with a doctor’s order is able to drive up to the alternate location and get tested without leaving their vehicles.

To get a doctor’s order for a test, a patient must call their primary care provider or a primary care/walk in clinic to either speak with a provider over the phone or schedule a virtual visit. Testing criteria includes having symptoms associated with COVID-19, which includes a cough, fever, body aches and shortness of breath, AND/OR direct exposure to someone confirmed to have COVID-19.

Tests are also available for inpatients and Emergency Department patients at Bemidji and Bagley medical center. Local tests performed in the Sanford Bemidji lab allow high-priority cases within hours, which minimizes exposure and unnecessary PPE use.

Additionally, inpatients ready for discharge are tested for COVID-19 before they return to their homes at long-term care facilities.

To date at Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota, 526 have been tested and eight have returned positive. Seven of those eight have already recovered and no longer need to be isolated.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers events and issues in north central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.


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