WISCONSIN -- A total of 25 specimen collection teams from the Wisconsin National Guard continue to operate across Wisconsin supporting local health departments and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services effort to increase the state’s COVID-19 testing capacity.
The teams, comprised of nearly 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 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.
As of June 9, Wisconsin National Guard teams had collected 110,010 specimens statewide.
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.
A team of approximately 15 troops served as medical and administrative staff at a state-run voluntary self-isolation facilities in Milwaukee from early April until June 7. A second team continues to support a Milwaukee County-run self-isolation facility. A third team supported a state-run voluntary self-isolation facility in Madison from April 2 to May 27.
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 augmented staff at a senior living facility in Grafton for three days 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 1,300 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.