Officials Want Physicians To Request More COVID-19 Tests
Testing capacity is more than triple what's being requested. Officials want doctors to test more people.
Despite the fact COVID-19 testing capacity has doubled across Wisconsin in the past week, the number of tests performed has not.
State and local officials would like to see that change as part of a multi-pronged strategy to combat the disease.
“We are certainly working hard to make sure that providers understand that there is capacity in the system,” said Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm on Thursday during a media briefing. DHS announced a loosening of restrictions last week. Individuals previously needed to show signs of a respiratory illness and require hospitalization or work in healthcare to get priority access to a test. Now any individual believed to have the disease and for whom a diagnosis would be beneficial can be tested. “We are not living in a world where we need to be quite so restrictive,” said Palm.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett would welcome more clustered testing in Milwaukee. He noted that there are census tracts on the north side of the city that have more than 30 cases, a total larger than most Wisconsin counties. He said targeted testing in those areas could provide more data and allow public health officials to isolate those with the disease.
“The more widespread we can have that testing, that isolation, that contact tracing, the quicker we will be able to lift this order,” said Barrett.
Barrett and Palm’s push is supported by Greenfield Health Officer Darren Rausch. “To do the work of controlling COVID well, the next step we need to take is to really increase testing,” said the public health expert during a Milwaukee County press briefing.
Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Chief Medical Officer at the DHS Bureau of Communicable Diseases,” said there are other reasons more people should be tested for COVID-19. He said the seasonal spread of influenza, another respiratory illness, is fading. “Mild patients in outpatient settings can now be tested,” said Westergaard. He said he expects more tests to be done in the coming weeks.
An average of 1,505 people per day were tested in Wisconsin over the past week, Palm said, but as of Thursday, the state has the capacity to test 7,578 samples per day.
If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits, all detailed here.
- State Creates 4 Community Vaccine Clinics - Megan Hart - Feb 24th, 2021
- State Vaccination Rate Increasing - Graham Kilmer - Feb 24th, 2021
- Wisconsin’s Emergency Powers Laws in Urgent Need of Reform - Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty - Feb 24th, 2021
- Souls to the Polls Urges Sen. Johnson to Vote ‘Yes’ on COVID-19 Relief Bill in the U.S. Senate - Souls to the Polls Milwaukee - Feb 24th, 2021
- WI Daily: 566 New COVID-19 Cases - Urban Milwaukee - Feb 23rd, 2021
- Gov. Evers Orders Flags to Half-Staff to Honor the More Than 6,300 Wisconsinites and 500,000 Americans Lost to COVID-19 - Gov. Tony Evers - Feb 23rd, 2021
- WI Daily: 423 New COVID-19 Cases - Urban Milwaukee - Feb 22nd, 2021
- Supervisor Goodwin Calls on Legislature and Governor Evers to Enact Wisconsin Stimulus Package - Sup. Shawn Rolland - Feb 22nd, 2021
- WI Daily: 403 New COVID-19 Cases - Urban Milwaukee - Feb 21st, 2021
- WI Daily: 676 New COVID-19 Cases - Urban Milwaukee - Feb 20th, 2021
Read more about Coronavirus Pandemic here