More COVID testing from the Department of Health will be offered in the Minot area starting this Saturday.

Free, walk-in PCR and rapid testing will be made available on three separate days.

First District Health Unit is helping to coordinate the testing after seeing a steady spike in demand for COVID tests since before the holidays.

The health unit tested 240 people on Thursday and about 800 people this week. That compares to around 170 people a day during a bit of a slower period.

Another noticeable increase is the number of positives coming from these tests.

The positivity rate of rapid tests at First District Health is up to 30 percent, compared to a recent 16 percent.

“We have seen quite a bit of an uptick, especially right after the holidays we saw a little bit of an uptick on the first week of the year and then this second week has been quite a bit,” said Jose Estrada, the emergency preparedness and response coordinator at FDHU.

First District Health Unit offers free coronavirus tests in the mornings five days a week, but these additional dates will be held on weekends and coming Monday, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The three additional testing days will be held at the Minot Municipal Auditorium tomorrow, Jan. 15, Monday, Jan. 17 and Saturday, Jan. 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

No appointments are needed but pre-registration is available online. Click here if you’d like to pre-register.

Please use the front doors of the Auditorium.