BEMIDJI -- Health agencies will conduct a series of free testing events for Bemidji area residents next week.

According to a release, the Minnesota and Beltrami County Departments of Health will hold testing sessions from noon to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 29, Wednesday, Sept. 30 and Thursday, Oct. 1. The effort is part of an initiative by MDH to work with local public officials over the next several weeks.

The testing is free and available to anyone who feels they need to be tested, whether they have symptoms or not. They will also not require health insurance.

“Testing uncovers positive cases earlier,” said Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht. “The test results will provide important data about the degree of spread in our area and help to guide efforts to combat COVID-19 and protect those who are most vulnerable to serious complications.”

Bemidji’s sessions will be located at the Bemidji Armory, 1430 234d St. NW. To prepare for the testing in advance, visit www.primarybio.com/r/bemidji, or call 1 (855) 612-0677.

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“Many who contract COVID-19 may experience mild or even no symptoms, but some suffer life-threatening complications,” said Beltrami County Public Health Director Cynthia Borgen. “All who contract the virus are contagious. Getting a test helps people know if they have contracted COVID-19 so they are informed and can protect those they are close to who might be more vulnerable to serious complications. This is a proven strategy for fighting the spread of a virus like COVID-19.”