National Guard COVID-19 Testing Sites to Close, But Other Options Remain

find out where you can get a test in the Eau Claire area

Tom Giffey |

The National Guard COVID-19 testing site at Peace Church, just off East Hamilton Avenue in Eau Claire.
The National Guard COVID-19 testing site at Peace Church, just off East Hamilton Avenue in Eau Claire.

Two National Guard-operated COVID-19 testing sites in Eau Claire County will close in the coming week, the Eau Claire City-County Health Department announced Thursday.

The last day of testing at Peace Church (501 E. Filmore Ave., Eau Claire) will be Monday, March 8, from 2-6pm. The site will also be open as scheduled on Friday and Saturday, March 5-6, from 2-6pm.

Meanwhile, the final day of testing at the Augusta Community Center (616 W. Washington St., Augusta), will be Wednesday, March 10, from 1-6pm.

(If you would like to get a free test at one of these sites, you can register the same day online.) 

“We’re really thankful for the Wisconsin National Guard team that has been partnering with us and many other locations across the state of Wisconsin to make sure that testing was available to people,” said Lieske Giese, Eau Claire City-County Health Department director, during an online media Q&A Thursday. As other testing sites have opened and the number of new virus cases in the area has declined, there has been less demand on the National Guard-staffed sites: When it opened late last year, for example, 150 to 250 people were being tested daily at Peace Church; more recently, that figured has dipped to about 40 a day, Giese said.

However, she added, the sites’ closure shouldn’t give the public the impression that testing isn’t vital to containing the pandemic. “Testing remains a very important strategy to maintain a low number of COVID-19 cases in our community,” Giese said. “Our healthcare partners and pharmacies continue to have testing readily available at no cost for anyone who needs a test.”

While these free testing sites are closing, numerous other COVID-19 testing sites will still be operating in the Chippewa Valley including at several Marshfield Clinic facilities, Mayo Clinic Health System, Prevea Health, and Walgreens. (See chart below for details.)

Here are some additional details on testing options from the health department:

If you need a test, get a test! Anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms (fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea) or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 can get a test at several other sites in Eau Claire County seven days a week.

More information on symptoms and testing can be found online here or by calling the COVID-19 Call Center at 715-831-7425.

In the media Q&A on Thursday, Giese noted that 32,794 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Eau Claire County, about 5,400 of them in the past week. Almost 21,000 county residents – or about 20% of the county’s population – have received at least one dose of the two-dose vaccine series, with about 12,000 people are fully vaccinated, Giese said.

Overall, as of March 4, 11,058 positive cases of the virus have been diagnosed in the county, 98 of which are still active. A total of 105 county residents have died of the coronavirus.