Kenosha County rolls out drive-thru to aid ‘desperate need’ for more COVID-19 testing

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KENOSHA -- State leaders say the key to opening Wisconsin is an increase in testing, and in Kenosha County, you can now get swabbed for COVID-19 from your car.

Dr. Jen Freiheit

With just 1% of the county's population already tested, Kenosha County health officials said they are excited about the opening of the drive-testing site at Gateway Technical College.

"We have seen a desperate need for more testing in Kenosha County," said Dr. Jen Freiheit, Kenosha County health officer. "That will give us better data to be able to contain this pandemic for Kenosha County."

The county has a goal of 257 tests per day with the ramped-up capabilities. The added data will help generate a more complete understanding of COVID-19's presence in the area.

Drive-thru test site at Gateway Technical College

Drive-thru test site at Gateway Technical College

Right now, the drive-thru is open to those who have had possible contact with someone who has tested positive -- a way of managing limited testing resources. It also helps minimize contact at the testing site.

Dr. Mary Ouimet

"Literally just need to drive up, show their proof of identification and then we're in and out with the test," Dr. Mary Ouimet, Kenosha Community Health Center CEO, said. "We've designed it so that we have minimal interaction at the site, and that they're prepared by the time they get here."

The swab test takes just a few minutes and results are available in a day or two.

"We can look for hot spots within the county. We can then do our contract tracing, our disease investigation and be able to contain it much quicker that way," said Freiheit.

The hope is that increased testing provides immediate dividends in slowing the virus' spread. Health officials considered Wednesday and Thursday a "soft launch" being open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. They will re-evaluate operating hours after that point.

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