MADISON, Wis. – Members of the Wisconsin National Guard have collected more than 800,000 COVID-19 test samples while supporting the Wisconsin Department of Health Service’s efforts to expand testing across the state.
Guard teams last week collected a record 55,000 specimens at community-based testing sites and during several institutional-based testing missions in over 40 Wisconsin counties. That brought the statewide total to 803,027 tests conducted.
The Guard teams are tailored to meet the needs of a specific facility and dispatched from a larger task force of several hundred Citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen. They have been testing people since early April at community testing sites, health clinics, businesses, and senior-living, institutional and correctional facilities.
Most community test sites across the state will be conducted through the first half of December. People seeking a test should contact their local health department for information about a particular testing day. Some regularly scheduled sites may be closed for Veterans Day.
Test specimens are sent to a lab for analysis, with the results shared by local health officials and call centers via email or phone in three to seven days.
Approximately 30 Guard troops working at a call center have placed more than 515,000 calls to inform people of their test results.
The Wisconsin National Guard has fulfilled a variety of roles across the state since Gov. Tony Evers declared a public health emergency March 12.
Guard members have helped process and distribute personal protective equipment; served as medical and administrative staff at voluntary self-isolation facilities; assisted the Dane County Coroner’s Office; augmented medical staff at a senior living facility in Grafton; and served as poll workers during multiple elections.
Approximately 700 members of the Wisconsin National Guard are currently supporting the state’s response to COVID-19.