Jeramey Jannene

Over 6,000 Get Tested At Free Milwaukee Testing Sites In Three Days

Demand remains strong each day as Milwaukeeans embrace no-appointment, drive-thru testing.

By - May 14th, 2020 01:12 pm
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Wisconsin National Guard individuals man a COVID-19 testing facility in Bay View. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Wisconsin National Guard individuals man a COVID-19 testing facility in Bay View. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Demand has not dropped at two free COVID-19 testing sites in Milwaukee.

The Wisconsin National Guard collected just under 2,000 tests on Monday when the sites first opened with lines that took hours to get through.

Staffing levels were increased and the sites were reconfigured to shorten wait times. An additional 4,000 tests were collected by the end of the day Wednesday.

The sites, available for individuals arriving in vehicles or on-foot, offer free testing for anyone seeking a test. No appointment is required. They are the only testing sites in Milwaukee providing no-appointment, free testing for individuals not exhibiting symptoms of the disease.

At the southside site at UMOS the guard has collected 3,171 tests, the northside site at Midtown Center has been the site of 2,956 collections. The tests are then sent offsite to Exact Sciences for processing.

The UMOS site is located at 2701 S. Chase Ave. The Midtown Center site was relocated within the complex and is now located at 5825 W. Hope Ave.

Six guard teams staff the two sites in shifts, with approximately 120 citizen-soldiers in total providing support alongside members of the Milwaukee Health Department.

The ease of getting tested at the two sites has not gone unnoticed by members of the Common Council. “I know more people that have been tested just this week than in the past months,” said Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs at a meeting of the Public Safety & Health Committee Thursday morning. “The question becomes why did it happen just this week than months ago?”

The two testing sites augment the over 17 testing sites already operating in Milwaukee County. But the other sites are available only to individuals experiencing symptoms on an appointment-basis. Symptoms may include fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, sore throat, headache, chills, muscle aches, loss of taste or smell. People with symptoms should call 211 to schedule a test at a community health center or contact their physician.

The two drive-up sites will now be closed on Sunday. “We have to give these people a break. They are humans,” said Barrett. The sites are operational from at 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

No official announcement has been made if the sites will operate next week.

The tests provided at the site are self-administered nasal swab viral tests, designed to test if an individual currently has the disease, not if the person previously had it.

Across the state, 25 guard teams collected a total of 4,788 samples on Wednesday.

UMOS Site Photos – Tuesday

UMOS Site Photos – Monday

Midtown Center Site Photos – Monday

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