MILWAUKEE -- In an effort to increase COVID-19 testing across Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers on Friday, May 1, announced the launch of community testing events in high-risk areas.
The events will be held in areas with a known lack of testing, or a need for additional testing due to high rates of COVID-19.
Wisconsin state health officials said this will lead to improved contact tracing and, in turn, a clearer picture of the scope of the virus.
Evers has compared re-opening Wisconsin to turning a dial and that "we can't think of this like flipping a light switch." To do that, state health officials said one of their goals is to be able to test everyone who has symptoms.
On Friday, the state launched a series of community testing events -- with the first held in western Wisconsin's Buffalo County. Roughly 25 Wisconsin National Guard members were on-hand to help.
"This is something we are well-trained for," said Capt. Joe Trovato with the Wisconsin National Guard. "This is why many of us wear the uniform, to serve our fellow neighbors and citizens across the state.
"We see it as neighbors helping neighbors and truly, we're honored to be a part of it."
About 300 soldiers and airmen currently make up 11 teams across the state that are supporting testing sites -- including health clinics and correctional facilities. So far, they've conducted more than 5,000 tests statewide.
Increased testing means doing their part to get "Wisconsin Ready" -- the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation's plan, in conjunction with the state, to prepare for the economy's re-opening.
The plan is based on three pillars: understanding the pandemic's economic impact, supporting the re-opening of businesses, and fostering a unified response among businesses, communities and citizens.
Additional community testing events will be announced in the coming days.
On average, a spokeswoman with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services said, about 2,000 to 3,000 COVID-19 tests are being performed per day; however, Wisconsin labs now have the capacity to perform more than 11,000 tests per day.