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Health officials launch initiative to speed up waiting time at COVID-19 testing sites

Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 9:57 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Local health officials are working on a fix after increased demands meant longer lines to get a COVID-19 test at the Madison area’s largest test site – the Alliant Energy Center.

According to the latest numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 1,900 tests were completed on Monday. That number jumped to 2,600 on Tuesday.

To help cut down lines for testing, Public Health Madison & Dane County is launching new technology that allows people to register before they arrive at the test site.

When you arrive at Alliant, health officials will give you a piece of paper that you can use to scan with the department’s new app. That will lead you to a new page, where you can pre-register before you take the COVID-19 test.

The health department says the online registration system has already “dramatically improved wait times,” speeding up testing by 100 more per hour, and cutting down wait times to under 10 minutes.

Madison resident Pernille Ripp says she took her 7-year-old son to get tested after he ran a fever. Documenting her experience on Twitter, she says he spent more than 4-year-a-half hours waiting in line for a test.

“So it went from 60 minutes then it went to 90 then it went to 150 minutes I started kind of seeing cars turn around,” she said. “Right now my whole family is in limbo, if he has COVID and I’m assuming we all do.”

According to Ripp, "The lab technician themselves they were on it they were super speedy… The people that were working there were doing the very best. I could there was a ton of people."

Madison and Dane County public health officials say there will be an announcement about this new technology from the state on Thursday.

The total number of people who have been tested at Alliant is just over 50,000, and counting.

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