Gov. Evers announces $32 million for UW-System COVID-19 testing, PPE

“Students and families can be confident in this testing program," says Tommy Thompson.
Every day Gundersen completes between 500 and 1,000 COVID-19 tests.
Every day Gundersen completes between 500 and 1,000 COVID-19 tests.(WEAU)
Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 1:05 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - Gov. Tony Evers has announced $32 million in funding for the University of Wisconsin System to implement COVID-19 testing on campus and personal protective equipment.

“As campuses across the UW System prepare to have students return to campus, it is critically important that every campus has the resources it needs to help keep our students safe,” said Gov. Evers. “The COVID-19 pandemic brings great uncertainty and having robust testing efforts is one of the most important tools we have to help box in this virus and make sure our students stay healthy and safe.”

The money is from the federal CARES Act.

The UW-System says $18 million will go toward testing more than 350,000 students. Six million dollars will be spent on PPE and testing equipment.

“Funding from the governor’s office and the federal government will help us provide the kind of testing we need at our universities when students return this fall,” said UW System President Tommy Thompson. “Students and families can be confident in this testing program.”

Students and staff will be required to wear face masks in classrooms, residence halls and other campus buildings.

The UW-System says the funding announced by the governor will allow them to implement “strong testing measures” at 12 campuses. These plans exclude UW-Madison, which has already announced its own testing plan with $8 million in funding.

• Testing of up to 34,000 students who show COVID-19 symptoms, similar to tests now being administered in medical and community settings. Approximately 28,000 tests will be distributed to universities and about 6,000 will be held in reserve by the UW System for future allocation.

• An additional 317,000 tests for students living in residence halls, given every two weeks with a rapid turnaround of results, and for close contacts of symptomatic students.

• Optional flu testing.

• Up to 52 staff located at the universities to assist with testing.

Testing would be conducted by university student health services and local health partners.

“We have been following the guidance offered by my friend Dr. [Anthony] Fauci and other experts and believe we are on track for on-campus instruction,” Thompson said. “Our mask-wearing requirement will help prevent the spread of the virus while our testing program will help identify cases and help contain them.”

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