MILWAUKEE -- Free COVID-19 testing began Monday morning, May 11 in Milwaukee for anyone who wants to know if they've contracted the coronavirus. No appointment is needed -- and you don't even have to be showing symptoms to take advantage. The Wisconsin National Guard will be conducting testing at two sites in the city for 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
Testing will be offered on Milwaukee's north and south sides -- at the Midtown parking lot near 57th Street and Capitol Drive, and at UMOS on S. Chase Avenue near Rosedale Avenue. Testing will take place between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. seven days a week, and again, you do not need to make an appointment, and do not need to be showing symptoms of the coronavirus to be tested.
"We currently have 15 specimen collection teams that are operating all throughout Wisconsin, and that number is growing to 25 in the next couple of days," said Joe Trovato, captain of the Wisconsin National Guard during a news conference Sunday afternoon.
The nasal swab takes minutes, and officials urged those with symptoms who work in public-facing jobs, or who live and work in places where there's been a confirmed case to go get tested.
"It can present in different ways, and we would stress to people that if you've talked to your health care provider and you are symptomatic, this is going to be an opportunity, obviously, to come and receive free testing at one of these community-based sites," said Dr. Nick Tomaro with the Milwaukee Health Department.
"We need you, the public, to be part of this as well, as we fight this pandemic," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. "The whole goal here is the more we can ramp up the testing, the more we believe that we can quickly get our life back to normal. That's the goal for all us, to get our life back to normal as quickly as possible."
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Wisconsin National Guard teams, comprised of more than 500 citizen soldiers and airmen in total, established mobile testing sites at locations ranging from correctional facilities and health clinics, to private businesses and community-based testing sites like those in Milwaukee.
A news release Saturday, May 9 listed the following specimen collection sites with ongoing operations:
- Brown County: Operations began at the Resch Center April 30 for focused-community testing for select businesses and their families. The Resch Center site opened for community-based testing May 4. As of May 6, more than 2,000 specimens had been collected at the Resch Center. Another Wisconsin National Guard specimen collection team began supporting a second community-based testing site that opened at Casa ALBA in Green Bay May 6.
- Dodge County: One team began a specimen collection mission at a food processing facility in Beaver Dam May 8.
- Milwaukee County: Two teams continue supporting two local health clinics after arriving in Milwaukee the week of April 20.
- St. Croix County: One team established a community-based testing site in River Falls May 9.
- Waukesha County: One team established a community-based testing site in Waukesha May 9. The mobile testing site will be open May 9 and May 11-12.
- Wood County: One team established a community-based specimen collection site in Wisconsin Rapids May 8.
The release listed the following previously concluded missions:
- Ashland County: One team completed a community-based specimen collection mission at Lake Superior Primary School in Ashland May 7. The team collected approximately 150 specimens.
- Barron County: One team supported a community-based specimen collection mission at the St. Croix Casino Campground in Turtle Lake May 3-4. The team collected 230 specimens.
- Brown County: One National Guard team on site at a food processing facility that began April 28 and concluded by 2 May and collected 738 specimens.
- Buffalo County: Community-based testing in Alma concluded May 1, where a National Guard team collected nearly 200 specimens.
- Burnett County: One National Guard team supported a community-based testing site in Burnett County May 5 and collected 130 specimens.
- Crawford County: One National Guard specimen collection team collected nearly 300 specimens from a factory in Prairie Du Chien May 5.
- Dane County: One team tested more than 1,000 staff and inmates at the Dane County Jail in Madison from April 24-27.
- Douglas County: One National Guard team supported a community-based testing site in Solon Springs May 6 and collected more than 170 specimens.
- Grant County: One team tested more than 270 staff and residents at the Orchard Manor senior living facility in Lancaster April 25. Another team collected more than 230 specimens at a factory in Platteville May 4.
- Kenosha County: More than 650 specimens collected April 28-29 at the Kenosha County Pre-trial facility and Kenosha County Detention Center. One team tested more than 130 individuals at a Pleasant Prairie meat processing facility May 2. Another team collected more than 400 specimens after completing a mission at meat packing facility in Kenosha May 7.
- Milwaukee County: One team tested nearly 1,000 staff and inmates at the Milwaukee County House of Corrections, and a second team completed more than 500 tests at a local meat processing facility April 28. A third team completed testing at a food processing facility in Milwaukee May 4 and collected more than 450 specimens. Another team collected more than 100 specimens at a meat-processing facility in Milwaukee May 8.
- Racine County: One team collected more than 160 specimens at a food processing facility in Burlington May 4. Another team collected more than 150 specimens at a medical facility in Sturtevant May 7-8.
- Sauk County: More than 175 specimens collected during testing in Baraboo that concluded April 29; Lake Delton seasonal staff dormitory testing concluded April 25 with approximately 175 specimens collected. Another team collected more than 130 specimens at a community-based testing site May 7 in Spring Green.
- Sheboygan County: One team tested nearly 170 staff and residents at the Sunny Ridge Health and Rehabilitation Center April 5.
- St. Croix County: One team collected nearly 230 specimens at a community-based specimen collection site in Baldwin May 8.
- Walworth County: One team collected more than 400 specimens at a food-processing facility in Darien May 7-8.
As of May 8, Wisconsin National Guard teams had collected nearly 12,000 specimens statewide.