Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683
Evers Administration Continues COVID-19 Testing Efforts, Support
10.9 million COVID-19 tests administered in 2021, including nearly 200,000 tests administered in K-12 schools
Governor Tony Evers and the Department of Health Services (DHS) today reminded Wisconsinites of available programs continuing to provide COVID-19 testing to Wisconsinites, including community testing sites, a K-12 testing program, support for child care testing, testing programs in shelters, long-term care facilities, jails, and pharmacies, and a service to distribute free at-home testing supplies. As Omicron spreads rapidly in Wisconsin, testing remains a critical tool to stopping the spread of COVID-19. To provide the most convenient testing options for Wisconsinites during this time, DHS encourages Local and Tribal Health Departments, health care providers, and other eligible individuals and organizations to apply for the community testing support program. Applications are due February 11, 2022.
“Wisconsin has ranked among the best in the country for getting available vaccine shots in arms and we continue to increase our COVID-19 testing efforts,” said Gov. Tony Evers. “As demand for testing increases, we are continuing to provide robust testing options and support to keep Wisconsinites healthy and safe while working increase testing capacity with public and private partners across the state.”
DHS manages COVID Connect, a testing registration website, and works with Vault Medical Services for free at-home test collection. DHS has also partnered with the Wisconsin National Guard at 24 testing sites; 15 University of Wisconsin campuses; a total of 508 community testing sites; and 513 K-12 public school districts, private and charter schools. DHS also provides testing support to child care programs, shelters, confinement facilities, and long-term care facilities.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Evers Administration has worked to expand testing capacity and availability. In 2021, 183,044 tests were administered through the K-12 testing program alone, with a notable increase in number of tests and percent positivity in November and December. In 2021, 10.9 million tests were administered to keep Wisconsinites safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Last month, nearly ten times the number of tests were administered per day than were administered in July 2021.
“Testing remains a critical tool during this COVID-19 surge,” said DHS Deputy Secretary Deb Standridge. “Thanks to our partners across the state, including local and tribal health departments, Wisconsin National Guard members, health care providers, pharmacies, and organizations across the state, there are several options for Wisconsinites to get tested. No matter your vaccination status, you should get tested if you were in close contact with someone with COVID-19, or if you have any COVID-19 symptoms.”
If you need to test for COVID-19, the following options are recommended by DHS:
- Contact a free community testing site to see if an appointment or registration is needed.
- Check if your local pharmacy participates in DHS’ community testing program.
- Check to see if your workplace offers testing.
- Contact your doctor and ask if your health care clinic provides testing.
- See if your child attends a school that participates in DHS’ K-12 testing. Students, faculty, staff, and in some cases family members in participating schools may be tested at the school for free.
- See if your child attends a child care program that has access to DHS testing.
- Request a free at-home collection kit. The kit will be mailed to you, and you can mail your collected sample in for a laboratory result.
Starting tomorrow, January 19, Wisconsinites will be able to order free tests online at COVIDTests.gov from the federal government. According to the Biden Administration’s statement, tests will typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering. Wisconsin will continue to offer at-home tests at no cost for state residents, and can be requested online for home delivery.
On December 20, DHS issued a public health advisory calling on all Wisconsinites to take urgent action to prevent additional hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. We all have a critical role to play in stopping the spread.
To find a COVID-19 vaccine provider in your community, visit Vaccines.gov, or call 211 or 877-947-2211. For up-to-date information about Wisconsin’s COVID-19 response, visit the DHS COVID-19 webpage. You can also follow @DHSWI on Facebook, Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram for more information on COVID-19.