Two labs in Wisconsin can now test for the coronavirus locally instead of sending samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for testing in Atlanta. The testing will be done at the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus and at the Milwaukee Health Department.

“Fast access to high-quality testing can help make a difference in our efforts to identify and control the spread of the disease,” said State Health Officer Jeanne Ayers on March 2.

Ayers, with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, said one person has tested positive for the virus in Wisconsin but has recovered and is no longer in isolation. There have been no new positive cases, but two test results are pending. Eighteen people have tested negative.

Dr. Allen Bateman, of the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, said previous versions of the test kits provided by the CDC could give inaccurate results. The federal agency has improved the kits shared with state and local agencies, but the CDC will be the second confirmation of any positive tests. This strain of coronavirus, called COVID-19, is a respiratory illness that has killed thousands in China and sickened people around the world.

COVID-19 is caused by a member of the coronavirus family that’s a close cousin to the SARS and MERS viruses. Symptoms can include fever, runny nose, cough and breathing trouble. Most people develop only a mild case, but some, usually those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia, which can be fatal.

Wisconsin health officials also asked people to pay attention to the flu, which they said people in Wisconsin are more likely to catch than the coronavirus. The state’s influenza surveillance coordinator, Tom Haupt, said the flu season is either at or nearing its peak, and has been nasty.

“The hospitalizations over the last week have been over 500, which is amazing for this time of year,” said Haupt.

Jаspеr Jоlly, Gwyn Tоphаm, Zое Wооd and Kаlyееnа Mаkоrtоff

Help deliver the independent journalism that the world needs, make a contribution of support to The Guardian.

The Milwaukee Independent began reporting on what was then referred to as the mysterious “Wuhan Virus” in January 2020. 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 year, we have published hundreds of 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.
For medical resources, please visit the CDC’s COVID-19 page or the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. All editorial content published by Milwaukee Independent can be found at With a mission of transformative journalism, our staff is free from commercial bias and are not influenced by corporate interests, political affiliations, or a public preferences that rewards clicks with revenue. As an influential publication that provides Milwaukee with quality journalism, our award-winning photojournalism and features have helped to achieve a range of positive social impact that enriches our community. Please join our effort by entrusting us with your contribution. Your Support Matters - Donate Now