Wisconsin National Guard has administered 1M COVID-19 tests

Two Wisconsin guard soldiers collect specimens from a car
Wisconsin National Guard Photo by Spc. Emma Anderson
Wisconsin National Guard soldiers collect specimens from a citizen at Isaac Coggs Heritage Health Center in Milwaukee.

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin National Guard has now administered more than 1 million COVID-19 tests throughout the state.

Guard members were activated in April 2020 to establish mobile testing sites at senior care centers, correctional facilities, health clinics, businesses and more. The testing initiative is the single longest activation of the Guard in state history.

“This milestone further exemplifies the absolutely vital role the Wisconsin National Guard has played in our state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gov. Tony Evers said. “This has been the longest activation of the Guard in state history and yet day in and day out the Guard answers the call to help their neighbors and communities. Whether through testing, working at the polls on election day, helping local governments, or assisting in our vaccine distribution program, we greatly appreciate their service and dedication to our state.”

In the fall of 2020, the National Guard ceased its operations at large-scale testing sites in Madison and Milwaukee, turning the operation over to public health departments. Since then, the National Guard has pivoted to a regional-based testing approach.

“Testing is one of the tools we use to slow the spread of this virus,” Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm said. “And when we needed help increasing testing throughout our state, the Guard answered the call, and continues to be a valuable partner in helping ensure that anyone who needs a test can get one.”

Roughly 700 National Guard members are actively working to continue the state’s testing effort.