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National Guard teams continue supporting mobile COVID-19 testing sites across Wisconsin

The Wisconsin National Guard has eleven teams collecting samples across the state, in support of local health departments and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, to increase the COVID-19 testing capacity for communities.

The teams, comprised of more than 300 Citizen Soldiers and Airmen in total, established mobile testing sites at locations ranging from correctional facilities and health clinics, to private businesses, and community-based testing sites.

A number of specimen collection sites have had ongoing operations, including two teams in Milwaukee County at local health clinics, one team in Brown County on site at a food processing facility, and another team in Buffalo County for community-based testing.

As of April 30, teams had collected more than 5,000 specimens statewide. The Wisconsin National Guard has fulfilled a variety of roles across the state since its response to the COVID-19 pandemic began after a March 12 public health emergency declaration from Governor Tony Evers.

Ongoing Wisconsin National Guard missions include a warehousing mission where 20 Citizen Soldiers are assisting the Wisconsin Department of Health Services at a state warehouse receiving personal protective equipment (PPE) shipments from around the state, repackaging them, and redistributing them to areas in need.

In addition, teams of 12 troops are serving as medical and administrative staff at two separate state-run voluntary self-isolation facilities in Milwaukee and Madison, while another 30 are serving at a Milwaukee County-run self-isolation facility. Meanwhile a team of Guard members is supporting the Dane County Coroner’s Office and assisting their office with mortuary affairs operations.

The Wisconsin National Guard has completed a number of other missions since the state’s response began in March including when it sent a team of six medics to a senior living facility in Grafton for three days to augment the staff after a COVID-19 outbreak resulted in a temporary staffing shortage.

More than 2,400 Citizen Soldiers and Airmen mobilized to support the Wisconsin Elections Commission during the April 7 election, where they served as poll workers across 71 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. Guard troops also procured and distributed hand sanitizer, wipes, spray bottles, and PPE to polling sites statewide in advance of the election.

Guard members also transported a group of Wisconsin citizens returning from a cruise ship with confirmed COVID-19 cases back to their homes in mid-March after a weeks-long ordeal. More than 1,000 Citizen Soldiers and Airmen from the Wisconsin National Guard are now serving in direct support of the state’s response to COVID-19 in a variety of statuses.

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Wisconsin National Guard

The Milwaukee Independent began reporting on what was then referred to as the mysterious “Wuhan Virus” in January. Other local media did not picked-up on the story until many weeks later. Our early features focused on the economic impact, social issues, and health concerns long before other Milwaukee news organizations even mentioned the coronavirus. Over the following months, we have published more than 500 articles about the pandemic and how it has affected the lives of Milwaukee residents. This extensive body of work can be found on our COVID-19 Special Report page, a chronological index of links by month. Our editorial voice remains dedicated to informing the public about this health crisis for as long as it persists.
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