Graham Kilmer

Northside Testing Center Up and Running

A new center, replacing one shut down more than a week ago, started testing Monday.

By - Jun 2nd, 2020 06:05 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. File photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Community testing for COVID-19 resumed on the North Side this week.

Less than two weeks ago, the testing site at Midtown Center was “paused” to give officials time to respond to a backlog of test results, Mayor Tom Barrett said.

The new site, which started testing Monday morning, is at the Custer Campus, which is part of the Barack Obama School of Career and Technical Education, formerly Custer High School, at 5075 N. Sherman Blvd. 

It tested 215 people Monday, Barrett said. The Southside testing site at UMOS, 2701 S. Chase Ave, tested 703 people yesterday. In total, the community testing sites have now tested 21,000 people.

These sites test symptomatic individuals as well as those not experiencing any symptoms. City of Milwaukee Health Commission Jeanette Kowalik said Tuesday during a media briefing “we know that these community testing sites are allowing people to be tested if they don’t have symptoms, which is important because it helps us understand how prevalent COVID-19 is in certain communities.”

The recent George Floyd protests in Milwaukee have brought thousands into the streets, often in close proximity to one another. Because of this, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley urged anyone that was at a protest and is experiencing a COVID-19 symptom to call their doctor or get tested at one of the community testing sites.

As Urban Milwaukee previously reported, when the site was shut down it was initially stated that this was so officials could “evaluate the need for testing and next steps.”

The backlog was tied to processing by Madison-based Exact Science, and officials have previously said the backlog was impacting contact tracing. City Hall was apparently getting calls from residents saying they took a test 10 days prior and still hadn’t gotten their results.

Barrett said Tuesday the pause allowed them to deal with the backlog, “We feel that is now heading in the right direction. We didn’t want people to take a test and not get the results, we felt that was unfair to them.”

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