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Wisconsin Guard surpasses 250,000 COVID-19 tests collected

Citizen-Soldiers and Citizen-Airmen from the Wisconsin National Guard collect specimens for COVID-19 testing July 13, 2020, at a community-based test site at the Eleva-Strum High School in Strum, Wis. The Wisconsin National Guard has collected more than 256,000 specimens statewide.

Citizen-Soldiers and Citizen-Airmen from the Wisconsin National Guard collect specimens for COVID-19 testing July 13, 2020, at a community-based test site at the Eleva-Strum High School in Strum, Wis. The Wisconsin National Guard has collected more than 256,000 specimens statewide.

MADISON, Wis. – Members of the Wisconsin National Guard have tested 256,000 people across the state for COVID-19 in ongoing operations to increase Wisconsin’s testing capacity.

Mobile specimen collection teams from the Wisconsin National Guard are supporting local health departments and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

The teams, which are tailored to meet the needs of a specific facility, are dispatched from a larger task force of several hundred Citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen. They have been testing since early April at correctional facilities, health clinics, institutional and senior-living facilities, businesses, and community-based test sites.

After collecting the specimens at each site, the test kits are sent to a lab for analysis. Patients are informed of the results by phone in three to seven days.

About 30 Guard troops are working at a call center that informs people of their COVID-19 test results.

Almost 1,100 Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are supporting the state’s response to COVID-19 in a variety of missions. Some are helping process and distribute personal protective equipment (PPE) to areas in need.

About 15 troops served as medical and administrative staff at a state-run voluntary self-isolation facility in Milwaukee March 31 to June 7. A second team supported a Milwaukee County-run self-isolation facility March 30 to June 14. A third team helped staff a state-run voluntary self-isolation facility in Madison April 2 to May 27.

Another Guard team assisted the Dane County Coroner’s Office with mortuary affairs operations from April 14 until June 12.

A team of six Guard medics augmented staff 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 Soldiers and Airmen served as poll workers in 71 of Wisconsin's 72 counties during the April 7 election. Another 160 Guard members helped out during the May 12 special election in Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District.

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