Archive for General

HealthPartners increases COVID-19 testing capacity at drive-up locations, including Hutchinson

BLOOMINGTON — HealthPartners is increasing its laboratory capacity to more than 2,000 COVID-19 tests a day beginning next week, a seven-fold increase since April 22, when Gov. Tim Walz announced plans to significantly increase state testing capabilities.

The organization has created new high-volume, drive-up testing sites in St. Louis Park and White Bear Lake where care teams can test 300-400 symptomatic patients a day. In addition, capacity has been increased at existing drive-up testing locations in Plymouth, Lakeville, St. Paul, Stillwater, Hutchinson, and Olivia where more than 6,000 tests have been performed since mid-March. With the additional capacity, HealthPartners will now be able to test 2,000 patients every day.

“Expanding access to COVID-19 testing will help us slow the spread of disease, and support the health and safety of our patients, members and colleagues in health care,” said Andrea Walsh, President and CEO of HealthPartners. “We look forward to working with the state and other care systems as we continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Testing begins with screening

Starting Monday, HealthPartners will offer tests by appointment for all symptomatic patients. Patients begin the process by calling their clinic for a short screening assessment. Based on symptom severity and risk factors, patients will be:

  • scheduled directly at a drive-up testing location (appointment required);
  • referred for an in-person visit and testing at a HealthPartners respiratory center; or
  • referred to a clinician for additional evaluation.


The screening assessment helps patients quickly get the right care for their needs, and it’s more convenient for the majority of people because most won’t need the additional step of scheduling an appointment with their clinician before testing. Early next week, this same screening also will be available online at and

“Testing symptomatic patients is the first step toward understanding the total burden of COVID-19,” said Dr. Mark Sannes, Senior Medical Director, HealthPartners. “Moving forward, we will be partnering with the Minnesota Department of Health on the important next step of contact tracing and quarantine of exposed individuals.”

Wright County spring load restrictions to end Monday, May 4

WRIGHT COUNTY – The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDoT) will end spring load restrictions in the central frost zone, which includes the highways on the Wright County highway system, Monday, May 4 beginning at 12:01 a.m.

City of Cokato postpones cleanup day

COKATO – Interim City Administrator Brad Potter announced the city-wide cleanup day originally scheduled for this coming Saturday, May 2, has been postponed. City staff anticipates the cleanup day will be rescheduled this fall.

Final Days of Stay at Home Family Portrait Contest


There are just a few days left in our Stay at Home Family Portrait Contest! There is still time to submit your family photo for a chance to win $100 in local restaurant gift certificates!

Winner will be announced in our paper Friday May 1.

Enter at today! View all entries here!

Lutheran Social Service continues to serve meals to home-bound seniors

Staff from Lutheran Social Service Meals remind citizens that anyone 60 years-old and older qualifies for a home-cooked meal for a suggested donation of $5. The organization will never turn anyone away for inability to pay, and all donations are confidential. Call 1-866-974-0289 to ask about this service.  Volunteers are needed to assist with this program from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on weekdays.  To volunteer, call the number above.

The menu for May is below.  (The menu can be enlarged by clicking on it.)

2020 May original (2)


Dassel City Council rejects project bids

DASSEL – The Dassel City Council rejected bids for the 2020 Improvement project at its meeting Monday night. Although 14 businesses requested information about the project, only two bidded for it, and those two bids came in approximately $1 million more than estimated.
City Engineer Chuck DeWolf noted in his report that when he polled contractors about why they chose not to bid the project, they indicated the potentially contaminated south stormwater pond was the issue.
Read more about the council meeting in the Friday, May 24 issue of the Enterprise Dispatch.