Main: General News: Local News

Wisconsin National Guard tops 60,000 specimens collected at mobile testing sites around the state Submitted: 05/22/2020
- Wisconsin National Guard specimen collection teams collected over 4,500 specimens May 21 and its cumulative total collected for COVID-19 testing topped 62,000 as 25 teams continue to operate across Wisconsin supporting local health departments and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services with COVID-19 testing efforts.

The teams, comprised of more than 600 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.
After collecting the specimens at each site, Wisconsin National Guard troops send the test kits to a state lab for analysis, and individual citizens receive their results via a phone call from their local health department or a state call center within three-to-seven days following the test.

Collection over Memorial Day weekend will be limited to Milwaukee and Madison sites on Saturday. Statewide collection resumes on Tuesday.

As of May 22, Wisconsin National Guard teams had collected 62,676 specimens statewide; 4,583 specimens were collected on May 21.

In addition, approximately 30 troops are working at a call center that informs people of their COVID-19 test results.

The Wisconsin National Guard has fulfilled a variety of roles across the state since its response to the COVID-19 pandemic began after a March 12 public health emergency declaration from Gov. Tony Evers.

Ongoing Wisconsin National Guard missions include a warehousing mission where 13 Citizen Soldiers are assisting the Wisconsin Department of Health Services at a state warehouse receiving personal protective equipment (PPE) shipments from around the state, repackaging them, and redistributing them to areas in need.

Teams of 15 troops are serving as medical and administrative staff at two separate state-run voluntary self-isolation facilities in Milwaukee and Madison, while another 8 are serving at a Milwaukee County-run self-isolation facility.

Meanwhile a team of Guard members is supporting the Dane County Coroner's Office and assisting their office with mortuary affairs operations.

The Wisconsin National Guard has completed a number of other missions since the state's response began in March including when it sent a team of six medics to a senior living facility in Grafton for three days to augment the staff after a COVID-19 outbreak resulted in a temporary staffing shortage.

More than 2,400 Citizen Soldiers and Airmen mobilized to support the Wisconsin Elections Commission during the April 7 election, where they served as poll workers across 71 of Wisconsin's 72 counties. Guard troops also procured and distributed hand sanitizer, wipes, spray bottles, and PPE to polling sites statewide in advance of the election.

Another 160 Guard members served on State Active Duty as poll workers during the May 12 special election in Wisconsin's 7th Congressional District.

Guard members also transported a group of Wisconsin citizens returning from a cruise ship with confirmed COVID-19 cases back to their homes in mid-March after a weeks-long ordeal.

All told, nearly 1,400 Citizen Soldiers and Airmen from the Wisconsin National Guard are now serving in direct support of the state's response to COVID-19 in a variety of statuses


Written By: Morgan Johnson

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -