Major expansion of COVID-19 testing sites in Wisconsin

Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 9:30 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - A major expansion of COVID-19 testing sites in Wisconsin is underway.

Until now, many of these community testing sites have been in larger cities, but this move announced Thursday also brings testing closer to some rural areas.

A testing site for COVID-19 at Christ the Rock Church just outside Appleton is among the many sites now up and running. It’s also the only one serving Calumet County, which is mostly rural.

“We feel that the trend is moving outward in the rural area. People in the rural area aren’t aware that you can go and get tested and have the opportunities like this in our area, and we need to keep getting the word out that this here, we can get tested here,” Calumet County Health Officer Bonnie Kolbe said.

The statewide expansion includes 71 community testing sites in 56 counties and 7 tribal nations (CLICK HERE to find testing site locations listed by county).

They’re open to anyone who lives or works in Wisconsin and together have the capacity to test approximately 48,000 people each week.

“We average 37 cases, positive cases, a day right now," Kolbe said, "and that’s been for the past month, which is significant for our jurisdiction.”

However, some counties aren’t covered at all. This includes Green Lake County, which had a testing site of its own in late July but turnout was rather low.

“Being a rural community we understand that the National Guard is a very valued commodity and they need to be placing their resources where they get the biggest bang for their bucks,” Green Lake County Health Officer Kathy Munsey said.

“I think that many of our community members are used to having to drive to get services," Munsey added.

Still, Calumet County officials say having a testing site close should encourage people who might be on the fence otherwise. This particular site is open Thursday through Saturday, weather permitting, until December 5, with the exception of Thanksgiving week.

Thirty-five of these new sites will be open 1 to 3 days a week, 31 are testing every other week, and 5 will offer testing at least once a month. CLICK HERE to find testing site locations listed by county.

You can register at the testing site, but it can go faster if you register online at the Wisconsin COVID-19 Connect web site.

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