National Guard to Help With COVID-19 Testing in Western Wisconsin

details about drive-through sites, hours announced

V1 Staff

Members of the Wisconsin National Guard converse with a staff member during a COVID-19 testing event April 25 at a long-term-care facility in Lancaster, Wisconsin. (Source: Flickr | Licensed by xxx)
Members of the Wisconsin National Guard converse with a staff member during a COVID-19 testing event April 25 at a long-term-care facility in Lancaster, Wisconsin. (Source: Flickr | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Part of the statewide effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 and re-open Wisconsin depends on ramping up testing for the virus. Gov. Tony Evers announced May 1 that the Wisconsin National Guard will help work toward that goal by setting up drive-through testing sites throughout the state. In the coming days, the National Guard – along with the State Emergency Operations Center, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Wisconsin Emergency Management, and local health departments – will hold community testing events in several locations in and around the Chippewa Valley.

“Taking our lab capacity from the ability to perform zero COVID-19 tests in early March to more than 11,000 tests per day now is one of our success stories here in Wisconsin,” Evers said in a press release. “But capacity is not the same as utilization, so we have some work to do to ensure everyone who needs a test is getting one and to understand the full scope of this disease around Wisconsin. The state has been working hard to support local health departments throughout this crisis and we’re pleased to announce these additional community testing events in northwest Wisconsin. I urge anyone who is experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 to go get tested at one of these events.”

The National Guard will assist with the following drive-through testing sites in west-central Wisconsin:

Pierce and St. Croix Counties

• Friday, May 8, Drive-through testing
Western WI Health
1100 Bergslien St.
Baldwin, WI 54022
11am to 7pm

• Saturday, May 9, Drive-through testing
St. Croix Valley Business Innovation Center
1091 Sutherland Ave.
River Falls, WI 54022
9am to 4pm

Dunn and Eau Claire Counties

• Sunday-Monday, May 10-11, Drive-through testing
CVTC/Prevea Health
617 W. Clairemont Ave.
Eau Claire, WI 54701
Sunday, May 10: 8am to 5pm
Monday, May 11: 11am to 7pm

(See below for further details.)

Chippewa, Clark, & Taylor Counties

• Wednesday, May 13, Drive-through testing
Thorp High School
605 S. Clark St.
Thorp, WI 54771
11am to 7pm

Chippewa and Rusk Counties

• Thursday, May 14, Drive-through testing
Rusk County Fairgrounds
Rusk County Fairgrounds Road
Ladysmith, WI 54848
11am to 7pm

According to the governor’s office, any Wisconsin resident experiencing COVID-19 symptoms is welcome at these sites. Here’s some further need-to-know information about the testing and the virus:

Wisconsin is increasing access to testing, and anyone with symptoms should contact their health care provider and ask to be tested. If you live in or around these communities and are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, we urge you to go get tested at the community testing events.

Additional community testing sites will be announced in the coming days.

Symptoms of COVD-19 include:

  • Fever, defined as a measured temperature greater than 100.4° F
  • Subjective fever, for example if a person feels unusually warm to the touch, or reports sensations similar to previous experiences of fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Chills or rigors (repetitive shaking chills)
  • Muscle aches (myalgia)
  • New loss of taste or smell

The Eau Claire City-County Health Department offered additional details about the upcoming testing in Eau Claire:

COVID-19 Drive-Thru Testing for Dunn and Eau Claire Counties with National Guard Assistance

Eau Claire, WI, May 4, 2020 – Dunn County and Eau Claire County are partnering to host a community COVID-19 drive-thru testing site in Eau Claire, WI on Sunday, May 10, 2020 and Monday, May 11, 2020. The testing site will be at Chippewa Valley Technical College/Prevea Health Clinic, 617 W. Clairemont Avenue, Eau Claire, WI. The event will run on Sunday, May 10th from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm, and on Monday, May 11th from 11:00 am - 7:00 pm, or until testing kits run out.

Any Wisconsin resident 5 years and older who is currently sick with any of these symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficult breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell are eligible for nasal swab testing. Following testing, people should return directly to their home and isolate themselves until they receive their test results and further guidance from public health. Isolation means stay home, separate yourself from other people in your home, and wash your hands often. People will be notified of their test results by phone within 24-48 hours.

Testing through the collection site will be free of cost. Please check our Facebook page before you leave home for updates and to see if testing kits are still available. If testing kits run out before the end of the event, we will update our Facebook page.

Providing a mass COVID-19 testing site offers a better understanding of the presence of the virus in our communities. This will only be a moment-in-time snapshot of its current activity. Following this event, testing will still be available through our local healthcare providers for other people who are experiencing any of the above symptoms.

For more information regarding this event please call the COVID-19 Call Center at 715-831-7425. Additional testing sites will be added to the Western Wisconsin Public Health Readiness Consortium.