Like watching a grainy television picture of a precarious space mission, the public might be nervously observing rather than coming forward to make Gov. Tim Walz’s “moonshot” of testing 20,000 Minnesotans daily a reality.

The state orchestrated an attention-grabbing partnership between the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota to boost COVID-19 testing capabilities. Walz’s moonshot is to grow that testing number to 20,000.

Instead, the state has fallen short of even hitting 5,000 tests a day, which Walz says is the critical number to reopening the economy.

Part of the problem is that the public for months has been told that if their symptoms were mild, they should just stay home. Tests were being preserved for the most sick or those who had the most obvious direct contact with confirmed cases.

Now it’s time to switch gears. The state worked hard to increase the capacity to test, and it has achieved that goal. The tests are now widely available.

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, go get tested.

The most common symptoms are cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat and loss of taste or smell. The list is not, however, all inclusive. Other less common symptoms may include nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

Call your health provider about getting tested or find testing sites at mn.gov/covid19.

The testing isn’t just about having data for daily updates from the state health department. Testing provides important information to help state officials and health experts develop sound strategies to find who in the community has been exposed and how to best protect those who need it most.

With the public’s help, the governor’s moonshot will get us there and back as safely as possible.

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