Rapid COVID-19 tests available at UW campuses

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MADISON (WKOW) — Campuses in the University of Wisconsin System are working in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide rapid COVID-19 tests.

This comes as Wisconsin continues to break COVID-19 case records.

“Wisconsin’s on fire with this insidious disease, and they’ve asked us to expand our testing,” UW System President Tommy Thompson said Wednesday.

The Abbot BinaxNOW tests can provide results in 15 minutes, according to a press release from the UW System sent Wednesday.

About 250,000 of the tests will be available at “surge testing” sites on UW campuses.

Thompson said the testing will happen at 4-year and 2-year campuses in the UW System. Some sites will open as early as Thursday, but most sites in south central Wisconsin will open next week.

Testing started Thursday at UW-La Crosse. 

“Our universities are perfectly positioned to help Wisconsin combat the spread of COVID-19,” Thompson said. “This is the Wisconsin Idea in action, and a recognition of our existing work to keep our students, faculty, and staff as safe as possible during the pandemic.”

Anyone can get tested at the sites, and Thompson said a group effort will be key to Wisconsin controlling the virus.

“Everybody’s in this together to really do a job of trying to bend that curve and reduce the rise of COVID-19 in our state,” he said.

The federal government bought 150 million of the rapid tests in August to distribute around the country in areas hit hard by the coronavirus.

“Testing is a critical component in our battle against COVID-19,” said Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams. “Not everyone develops symptoms, so someone could be spreading the virus without knowing it.”

Officials hope that the additional tests help contain the virus’ spread. If people know they are infected, the theory goes, then they will take the steps needed to prevent spreading the illness to others.

Thompson said the main goal of the testing in Wisconsin is to identify asymptomatic super spreaders so they can quarantine before infecting anyone else.

Individuals seeking to be tested will register online, proceed to the testing site, administer the test themselves under supervision and label it for processing.

Those hoping to take the test can register for free at www.doineedacovid19test.com.

Normal COVID-19 tests can take days to give results depending on local demand and processing times.

A complete list of when and where testing will be available is below.

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