COVID-19 Updates: Nov. 15, 2021

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Minnesota Department of Health

November 15, 2021

Minnesota News and Outreach

Stay Safe during the Holidays

As we come up on the end-of-year holidays, we find ourselves at a difficult point in the pandemic. Vaccination numbers continue to rise, and the recent authorization of vaccinations for kids ages 5 to 11 is encouraging. On the other hand, the highly contagious Delta variant is driving Minnesota’s COVID-19 case numbers to an alarmingly high level, our hospitals remain crowded, and there are still many of our fellow Minnesotans who do not have vaccine protection.

With that in mind, we are encouraging all Minnesotans to think carefully about their holiday plans. It’s important to connect with family and friends, and no one wants to miss out on another holiday season. At the same time no one wants to be the one who passes a potentially deadly virus along to loved ones. We can reduce the risk and still enjoy the season by following the guidance on CDC: Holiday Celebrations.

  • Get vaccinated if you are eligible. It protects you AND it protects those around you – especially those under age 5 who cannot get the vaccine.
  • Wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth if you are in public indoor settings if you are not fully vaccinated, and even if you are fully vaccinated if the community is experiencing substantial or high levels of COVID transmission. This is especially important if a member of your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.
  • Remember that outdoors is safer than indoors.
  • Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.
  • If you are sick or have symptoms, do not host or attend a gathering.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a close contact with someone who has COVID-19: Find Testing Locations in Minnesota.

If you are considering traveling for a holiday or event, visit CDC: Travel to help you decide what is best for you and your family.

  • CDC still recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated and provides testing recommendations for those who are planning to travel.
  • Masks are mandatory on public transportation, including buses and airplanes.

If you are gathering with a group of people from multiple households and potentially from different parts of the country, you should consider some additional precautions prior to gathering (e.g., lay low before you go, avoid crowded indoor spaces, get tested) to further reduce risk.

COVID-19 Vaccine for Children 5-11 Years Old

Following an extensive clinical trial and final recommendations from CDC, Minnesota children 5- to 11-year-olds are now eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Parents and guardians should visit COVID-19 Vaccine for Children and Teens to learn more and find 5- to 11-year-old children a vaccine.

Minnesota providers have ordered as many doses as possible from the federal government. Over 500,000 children across Minnesota are now eligible for the vaccine. Ninety-four percent of Minnesota’s population is now eligible to be vaccinated.

Photo of a young girl holding a teddy bear, Kids 5-11 can now get their vaccine!

Kids Deserve a Shot First Deadline

Today (11/15) is the deadline to enter the first of five "Kids Deserve a Shot" drawings! The winner will get a $100,000 Minnesota college scholarship! There will also be prize packages from the Vikings, Twins, Timberwolves, Wild, Gophers, and First Avenue. All fully vaccinated 12-17-year-olds are eligible. Learn more and register at Kids Deserve a Shot.

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Materials

We are adding new videos, print materials, and translated documents often. Check out the pages below to view, download, or print these resources.

COVID-19 Translated Materials

Materials and Resources for COVID-19 Response

Videos for COVID-19 Response

The situation is changing rapidly. Visit Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) for the most up-to-date information and follow MDH on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram to stay informed.

What's New

Information for Close Contacts

If you have close contact with someone who has had a positive COVID-19 test (regardless of whether a test occurs at a clinic, testing site, at home, or at another setting), follow the appropriate guidance on Close Contacts and Quarantine.

If you are not fully vaccinated

  • Stay home and away from others (quarantine) and wear a mask if other people are around.
  • Get tested immediately. If the test is negative, test again five to seven days after the last time you were close to the person with COVID-19. If you are considering a shortened quarantine period of seven days, your second test must be a PCR test that occurs at least five full days after your last exposure.
  • Watch for symptoms for 14 days. If you start to have any symptoms, get tested again right away.
  • If you test positive or start to have symptoms, follow the recommendations on If You Are Sick or Test Positive.

If you are fully vaccinated

  • Get tested five to seven days after exposure.
  • Wear a mask in public, indoor settings for 14 days following exposure or until you receive a negative test result.
  • Consider wearing a mask at home for 14 days or until you receive a negative test result if you live with someone who is immunocompromised, at increased risk of severe disease, or unvaccinated.
  • You do not need to quarantine if you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19. You should watch for symptoms for 14 days.
  • If you start to have any symptoms, stay home and away from others immediately (isolate), get tested again, and follow other recommendations on If You Are Sick or Test Positive.

For more information on testing recommendations and options, visit COVID-19 Testing.

Community Testing Sites

The state is now offering rapid testing to help Minnesotans access free, quick testing resources in their communities. These sites will allow Minnesotans to get an antigen nasal swab test and receive results in a matter of hours.

Both saliva PCR tests and rapid antigen tests available:

  • Lino Lakes: Former YMCA
    Monday-Friday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Minneapolis Convention Center
    Monday-Friday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

New rapid testing site:

  • Albert Lea: Former ShopKo
    Thursday-Friday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    Saturday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A new saliva community testing site is open at the Red Baron Arena in Marshall, MN,  from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays (Monday-Friday).

NOTE: All community testing sites will be closed Nov. 25-26 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Minnesotans can walk-in or make an appointment ahead of time. Find details at COVID-19 Community Testing Sites

Minnesotans can also take advantage of the state’s no-cost COVID-19 Vault Saliva Testing at Home program or drive through or walk in at most local Walgreens and CVS locations.

COVID-19 Stories of Community Outreach and Partnership

COVID-19 Stories of Community Outreach and Partnership highlight the efforts of our staff in collaboration with community partners during the COVID-19 response. Some stories provide insight into how this work is done, others discuss what challenges our teams face, but all of them recognize how COVID-19 has pushed MDH to try new strategies so we can fulfill our mission of protecting, maintaining, and improving the health of all Minnesotans.

Lending a Helping Hand: Refugee Resettlement Agencies Support Minnesota's Refugee Community During COVID-19 Pandemic

Recently arrived refugees faced many challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Habiba Rashid of Minnesota Council of Churches remembers the early period of fear and confusion. Newly arrived refugees wondered whether the pandemic was real, why initially it appeared that white people were mostly affected, and then why suddenly it seemed minority communities became more at risk. Several resettlement agency partners of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) – Lutheran Social Services, Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota, the Minnesota Council of Churches, and the International Institute of Minnesota – witnessed this crisis and have since gone above and beyond to support our newest Minnesotans.

The resettlement agencies  reached out to clients, distributed key safety and hygiene supplies, listened to their needs and concerns, fiercely advocated for MDH to address these needs, and provided factual and nonjudgmental information about how refugee families could protect themselves and others from COVID-19. 

Read more: Lending a Helping Hand: Refugee Resettlement Agencies Support Minnesota's Refugee Community During COVID-19 Pandemic

Greater Mankato Somali Community be informed on who's getting vaccinated

Guidance and Resources



NOTE: Look for an "Updated" date below guidance links on our website to know when the resource was last revised.

MDH COVID-19 Public Hotline

For questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, call:


Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.