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DHS announces increase in COVID-19 testing capacity in Wisconsin

Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 5:24 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - On Tuesday, Governor Tony Evers announced Wisconsin is expanding and increasing its testing capacity.

"We went from having no capacity in early March to now, in August, exceeding our current goal of a capacity of nearly 150,000 tests per week," said Evers.

Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, said the increase is significant because it allows the state to improve its response to COVID-19, especially at-risk populations.

"That is why we are prioritizing these newly acquired tests for nursing homes with the goal of regularly repeating testing for all employees of skilled nursing facilities, along with symptomatic residents," said Willems Van Dijk.

The deputy secretary said the state has secured additional testing through state supply and purchasing power. However, she said the main concern now is that other states, that are experience much longer testing lines and wait times, will try to purchase tests being created here in Wisconsin labs.

“A big part of this effort has been how can we work with labs within Wisconsin to purchase that testing capacity to make sure it stays here in Wisconsin for Wisconsin residents,” said Willems Van Dijk.

As of Tuesday, Wisconsin has 83 active labs.

“We are seeing acceptable testing turnaround times in Wisconsin. The majority of our labs are turning around tests within 1-3 days,” said Willems Van Dijk. “They all want to get quicker and quicker and are really committed to that so we thank them for their efforts.”

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