Gov. Evers announces steps to make Wisconsin a leader in COVID-19 testing per capita

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Tony Evers announced a plan Monday to make Wisconsin one of the top states in testing per capita, according to a news release.

The plan to increase testing includes four major goals: respond to every outbreak throughout the state, test every nursing home resident and staff member, establish community testing programs in target communities and make sure everyone who has COVID-19 symptoms gets a test.

“We’ve made great progress in expanding our testing capacity these last few weeks, and now we’re taking the next step to ensure our tests performed match our capacity,” said Gov. Evers. “Everyone in the state that needs a test should be tested, and through the Badger Bounce Back Plan, we’re taking a comprehensive approach to make sure that’s the case.”

Evers said the Wisconsin National Guard and local health departments are working with the state to respond to community outbreaks when they occur. Rapid response teams have been established for deployment if any employers or care facilities experience an outbreak, the release said.

State officials plan to use a combination of public and private partners to coordinate supplies, logistics and test with nursing homes in an effort to provide free testing at all of Wisconsin’s 373 nursing homes, according to the release. Officials said they hope to test more than 10,000 residents and staff per week during the month of May.

Health officials are working to establish a website so the public can find nearby community testing sites to ensure as many people are tested as possible. Evers is mobilizing 15 more Wisconsin National Guard units to help health officials set up testing sites around the state.

Healthcare providers can request COVID-19 testing supplies through the state’s request form.

Officials said Wisconsin has provided more than 60,000 tests to hospitals, clinics, long term care facilities and other groups since the start of the pandemic.

According to the release, the state is prepared to provide 85,000 COVID-19 tests per week to make sure everyone who needs a test is able to get one. Fifty-seven of the state’s 72 counties have requested supplies needed for testing.

“To turn the dial in Wisconsin, we have to test everyone with symptoms,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “From there, we move to contact tracing and getting those exposed to the virus in quarantine. Anyone with symptoms that include cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell please call your provider and get tested.”