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Minnesota health, ag labs damaged

ST. PAUL — Minnesota’s health and agriculture laboratories near the state Capitol building are closed after the building’s heating system failed due to cold weather.

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Repairs could cost at least $1 million.

Health Department officials blamed the cold weather for freezing portions of the heating system. Water then leaked into the labs.

The infectious disease and newborn screening laboratories may be able to reopen today, but the Health Department reported it could take longer for laboratory equipment to be fully functional.

“The second-floor environmental lab, which sustained the worst damage, will take longer to recover,” the department reported in a statement. “Crews there are working to recover functions as quickly as possible.”

Lab officials said no samples or specimens were lost or damaged in the water leaks because they are kept in secure storage units.