(UW-W press release) COVID-19 testing for community members moves to UW-Whitewater Community Engagement Center on Monday, Feb. 1
After conducting more than 19,000 COVID-19 tests as part of UW System’s “surge testing” program, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is extending operations into the spring by opening a new testing clinic at the Community Engagement Center.
The location, at 1260 W. Main Street on the west side of Whitewater, will be open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., beginning Monday, Feb. 1. (Banner note: the location is the former Sentry grocery store building.) The free, fast antigen tests are available to anyone 5 years or older. (Banner note: The nasal test is self-administered; it is somewhat uncomfortable but not really painful.)
“As we did during the pandemic of 1918-19, this university is proud to lend its resources and expertise to assist in the fight against COVID-19, and I am proud of the staff across UW-Whitewater who continue to work hard to make this possible,” said Chancellor Dwight C. Watson. “And we appreciate the community members of all ages who take the opportunity to get tested to help keep the city of Whitewater as safe as possible. They participate not only for their own wellbeing, but for the good of others — upholding their responsibility as caring and committed members of our community.”
A total of 19,408 tests (with an overall positivity rate of 13.5%) were administered at the clinic’s previous location at the Williams Center, which was made possible through a University of Wisconsin System “surge testing” initiative in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The program at the Williams Center ran from Nov. 9, 2020, through Jan. 22, 2021, and has concluded.
The community surge testing program complements an already existing partnership between UW-Whitewater, UW System and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to regularly test university members, which also began earlier in the fall. Free student, faculty and staff testing is now available at the University Center, where participants are required to show their UW-Whitewater identification. On the Rock County campus, testing is available to students, faculty and staff once a week on a rotating Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday schedule.
During the spring 2021 semester, UW-Whitewater students who live on campus are expected to get tested every week, while others who come to campus at least once a week, including students who live off campus and faculty and staff, are expected to get tested every other week.
Registration information on COVID-19 testing at the UW-Whitewater Community Engagement Center will be posted soon at https://www.uww.edu/warhawks-return/testing.
Community members who wish to get tested between now and Jan. 31 should consult the COVID-19 Community Testing Site page on the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website. That page currently lists four testing sites in Walworth County, one in Jefferson County, and five in Rock County.
(UW System press release – Jan. 25)
MADISON, Wis.—University of Wisconsin System President Tommy Thompson today announced an extension of community COVID-19 surge testing sites at UW System campuses.
After conducting more than 220,000 free tests through last week, most of the 22 surge testing sites were scheduled to close. However, in partnership with the UW System, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be providing 140,000 additional Abbott BinaxNOW tests and associated confirmatory PCR tests for use across Wisconsin in the coming weeks.
The extension of the community tests begins today at UW Oshkosh and will launch at other sites in the coming days, as specified below. Not all original sites will continue surge testing.
“We thank the federal government for their confidence in us, and we’re pleased that our university sites can continue to be used in the fight against this insidious disease,” President Thompson said. “Where there’s a problem, I want the UW System here to help.”
At the request of federal officials, UW System universities set up surge testing sites last fall, and testing began in early November. The testing identified nearly 18,000 potential positive carriers of the virus who were advised to isolate.
“We are all hopeful by the arrival of vaccines, but we must remain vigilant in our behaviors, and that includes getting tested,” Thompson said.
The Abbott BinaxNOW antigen tests used for surge testing will be supplied by the federal government, which is also providing the personnel and logistical support and confirmatory tests as necessary.
Persons who want to receive a rapid-results test – available in about 15 minutes – should register at www.doineedacovid19test.com or call 1-800-635-8611. Those who test positive through the rapid-results test are urged to get a confirmatory PCR test.
Individuals do not have to be experiencing symptoms or be a close contact of someone with COVID-19 to get a test, nor do they need to live in the community where the testing site is located.
Individuals seeking to be tested will register online, proceed to the testing site, administer the test themselves under supervision, and label it for processing.