Jeramey Jannene

Midtown Center Testing Site To Close, Southside Site Will Remain

Testing sites have collected over 16,000 specimens.

By - May 22nd, 2020 03:55 pm
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The Wisconsin National Guard and Milwaukee Health Department staff a COVID-19 testing site at Midtown Center. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The Wisconsin National Guard and Milwaukee Health Department staff a COVID-19 testing site at Midtown Center. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The northside COVID-19 testing site staffed by the Wisconsin National Guard will close Saturday.

Located at Midtown Center, the site is one of two sites in the city available to Wisconsin residents with no appointment and no need to show symptoms of the disease. A number of free, northside testing sites remain, but individuals need to schedule an appointment and show symptoms of the virus.

A southside site at UMOS, 2701 S. Chase Ave., will continue to operate and serve any Wisconsin resident.

As of Thursday morning, guard members at the southside site had collected 8,589 samples versus 7,068 at Midtown Center.

“The Midtown site will be put on pause next week as we evaluate the need for testing and next steps,” said Mayor Tom Barrett on a Friday press briefing.

Barrett said collections at both sites “exceeded expectations.” When the sites opened on May 11th, officials expected up to 500 samples per day to be collected at each site. But long lines resulted in additional guard teams being deployed and the sites reconfigured to support up to 1,000 tests per day.

The sites are currently only 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. six days a week. Both sites are closed on Sundays and will be closed Monday for Memorial Day. But starting Tuesday only the southside site will reopen.

While many of the early COVID-19 cases in Milwaukee were clustered near the Midtown Center site, the south side began to emerge as home to the fastest growing cluster even before the new testing site opened.

Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik acknowledged Wednesday during a Common Council committee meeting that she had heard rumors the Wisconsin National Guard would like to be able to move sites around to serve other municipalities, including West Allis. The two sites in Milwaukee are operated in partnership by the city, county and state.

Individuals seeking a COVID-19 test that show symptoms of the disease (fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, sore throat, headache, chills, muscle aches, loss of taste or smell) should call 211 or their health care provider to schedule a test.

UMOS Site Photos – May 11th

Midtown Center Site Photos – May 11th

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