WOODBURY — After a health care provider has confirmed you have symptoms of what could be COVID-19, you can get a test at the Urgency Room's clinic in Woodbury.

The clinic, located at 7030 Valley Creek Plaza, had been offering limited tests for symptomatic essential workers and caregivers for several weeks. After Gov. Tim Walz announced April 22 that the Minnesota Department of Health was increasing its testing capacity, the Woodbury clinic expanded its testing guidelines to "any symptomatic patient."

Urgency Room spokesperson Becky Leagjeld said the clinic's laboratory manager had been working closely with the state to ensure the clinic was "in the loop" when it came to testing. Each of Urgency Room's three locations are equipped to conduct the test, she said.

However, the clinic is advising patients with a cough or respiratory symptoms to visit its Woodbury location, whether or not they are seeking a COVID-19 test, and those seeking any other kind of medical attention to visit its Eagan or Vadnais Heights locations. Leagjeld said this separation is an effort to maintain enough personal protective equipment for clinicians in Woodbury, and at the same time ensure people with unrelated medical needs can be seen in a timely manner.

Staff have noticed patients are often sicker when they finally do visit a clinic, as some are avoiding medical attention due to the pandemic and its effect on health services, Leagjeld said.

The Woodbury clinic and the HealthPartners Curve Crest clinic in Stillwater are the only locations in Washington County currently testing any symptomatic person, according to an MDH database. The M Health Fairview Clinic - Woodwinds (formerly HealthEast Clinic - Woodwinds) at 1825 Woodwinds Drive in Woodbury is testing symptomatic first responders, health care workers and caregivers, as well as symptomatic people who are over age 65, living in congregate care, experiencing homelessness, dialysis patients and those who have underlying medical conditions.

The Urgency Room accepts walk-in patients, while the Woodwinds and Curve Crest clinics are appointment-only.

When a patient arrives at the Urgency Room in Woodbury they will immediately see signs asking them to stay in the car and wait to be triaged by staff. Clinical staff will come to the car in personal protective equipment "from head to toe," Leagjeld said, and will ask the patient a series of questions and conduct some tests, including checking the person's oxygen levels and other vitals. If the patient seems to be doing OK and the clinic has a room ready, the patient will be directed to the lobby — provided no other patient is waiting there. Patients will be asked to go into the clinic alone, unless a parent or direct caregiver is needed.

Once inside, the patient will be checked in and walked back to a room, where they will be asked a series of questions by a nurse via video on a mobile tablet. A medical provider will then examine the patient and decide if a COVID-19 test is warranted. If so, the patient will be instructed to return to their car where a clinician will conduct a swab test, part of a Department of Health recommendation to keep testing outside of the clinic, Leagjeld said.

The clinic then sends the test to an outside laboratory, usually receiving results within two to five days. Clinicians follow up with the patient whether the test is positive or negative, Leagjeld said.

The Urgency Room has reduced its hours to noon to 9 p.m. daily at all three locations.

Editor's note: This story was updated May 4, 2020, to clarify the process of getting a COVID-19 test at the Urgency Room. Patients coming to the Woodbury clinic will be evaluated by a provider who will determine if a test is warranted.