COVID testing site at Alliant Energy Center to switch operations, hours next week

MADISON, Wis.– The National Guard is handing off free testing operations to local health officials.

Starting Monday, Public Health Madison and Dane County staff will take over full operations of COVID-19 testing at the Alliant Energy Center, according to Dane County Executive Joe Parisi.

The testing site will now be open Tuesday to Saturday. On Tuesdays and Thursdays it will be open from noon to 8 p.m. On Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays it will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Public Health Madison and Dane County decided to close the testing site on Mondays.

“Mondays there’s a lot of demand, but it’s often from people who may have engaged in some activities over the weekend that they think could have exposed them,” Parisi said. “Usually, you need a couple of days for that to turn up as a positive test.”

Testing will continue to be free. People can pre-register online or just show up.

Parisi said the county wants to provide 10,000 tests each week. The state will fund the mission.

“Even though we will be running it, we will be reimbursed for the expense of operating the testing stations,” Parisi said.

Maintaining a steady stream of tests headed deep into Fall is key to UW Health’s Dr. Jeff Pothof.

“It’s going to further strain our testing supply chain as more people are going to have symptoms and not know whether they have COVID-19 or something else,” Pothof said.

That uncertainty is unavoidable, but Pothof said there’s one key thing people can do to help.

“The more minutes, the more seconds that someone has a mask on, especially if they’re indoors, the more protection that they get,” Pothof said.

The National Guard will redeploy to other areas in the state, according to Parisi.

“Words can’t express how much we appreciate everything the Guard has done for us,” Parisi said.

Captain Joe Trovato said the National Guard will stick around for awhile to ensure a smooth transition.

Public Health Madison and Dane County anticipates running the testing site until the end of the year. The plan will be reevaluated for 2021.