Jeramey Jannene

Milwaukee Launching Two Free COVID-19 Testing Sites

Individuals will be able to receive free test without appointment or symptoms.

By - May 7th, 2020 04:17 pm
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2019 Novel Coronavirus. Image by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2019 Novel Coronavirus. Image by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A partnership between the city, county and state will expand the availability of COVID-19 testing in Milwaukee. Two sites will provide free testing to anyone that desires a test.

“Starting Monday, we are going to take the most significant step we have taken this far,” said Mayor Tom Barrett.

Staffed by the Wisconsin National Guard, each will have the capacity to collect up to 400 specimens per day for off-site testing.

Unlike other testing sites, including those operated by community health centers, individuals will not need to make an appointment. The centers currently operate 17 sites that provide free testing. Healthcare providers, including Ascension and Advocate Aurora, also provide testing to patients with a referral from a physician.

“We built up the capacity at the community health centers and we simply haven’t had enough people coming in yet,” said Barrett.

“The hope with the National Guard sites is to do a push,” said Dr. Ben Weston, medical director of the Milwaukee County Emergency Medical Services Division. He said the hope is to provide testing to individuals working second shift.

Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley said anyone that lives in an area with a high number of cases or works in a job that interacts with the public could be tested, including grocery store workers and delivery drivers. “If you have symptoms, please do not take public transportation,” he said. Individuals needing transportation should call 211 to be connected to a community health center that can provide transportation.

“Anyone who wants to be tested can be tested,” said Barrett. You will not need to be symptomatic to be tested at the two sites, nor will you need to be a Milwaukee County resident.

Crowley said the sites would operate from at least 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. “We will likely be extending beyond that,” he said.

Barrett and Crowley both promised more information in the coming days, including where they will be. “We don’t have the specific locations as of right now,” said the county executive.

The state Department of Health Services reported a record 5,523 people had tests processed in the past 24 hours early Thursday afternoon, but 51 labs across the state have the capacity to process 14,797 tests per day.

“Testing is the key to flattening the curve,” said Crowley.

Urban Milwaukee will update this article when testing locations and specific hours are released.

UPDATE – May 8th, 3:24 p.m. – The sites will be at 2701 S. Chase Ave. and 5760 W. Capitol Dr. Starting Monday, May 11th, they will operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.

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