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Wisconsin Guard tops 150,000 COVID-19 specimens collected

Wisconsin National Guard Airmen and Soldiers collect specimens for COVID-19 testing in Racine County, Wisc,, June 19, 2020. .The Guard has collected more than 154,000 specimens across the state. (Courtesy Photo)

Wisconsin National Guard Airmen and Soldiers collect specimens for COVID-19 testing in Racine County, Wisc,, June 19, 2020. .The Guard has collected more than 154,000 specimens across the state. (Courtesy Photo)

MADISON, Wisc. -- Wisconsin National Guard teams have collected more than 150,000 COVID-19 test specimens across the state in support of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

The milestone was reached June 23 when more than 5,200 specimens were collected, bringing the total to 154,012 specimens statewide.

The teams, which are tailored to meet the needs of specific facilities, are dispatched from a larger task force of several hundred National Guard Citizen- Soldiers and -Airmen. They began mobile testing in early April at correctional facilities, health clinics and institutional facilities, private businesses, senior-living facilities, and community test sites.

After collecting specimens at each site, Wisconsin National Guard troops send the test kits to a lab for analysis. Patients receive their results via a phone call from their local health department or a state call center within three to seven days.

Some 30 Guard 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 other roles across the state since Gov. Tony Evers declared a public health emergency March 12.

From March 24 to June 12, 15 Citizen-Soldiers helped the Wisconsin Department of Health Services process, repackage and distribute personal protective equipment (PPE).

Another 15 troops served as medical and administrative staff at a state-run voluntary self-isolation facility in Milwaukee from March 31 until June 7. Another team supported a Milwaukee County-run self-isolation facility March 30 to June 14. And a different team supported a state-run voluntary self-isolation facility in Madison April 2 to May 27.

A team of Guard members assisted the Dane County Coroner’s Office with mortuary affairs operations April 14 to June 12.

Elsewhere, six Wisconsin National Guard medics helped out for three days at a senior living facility in Grafton after a COVID-19 outbreak resulted in a temporary staffing shortage.

More than 2,400 Guard members served as poll workers in 71 of Wisconsin's 72 counties during the April 7 election, while another 160 helped out during the May 12 special election in Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District.

Nearly 1,200 Citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen from the Wisconsin National Guard are supporting the state’s response to COVID-19.

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