Health officials: If you have COVID-19 symptoms or need peace of mind, get tested

Published: Nov. 12, 2020 at 11:06 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Health officials say if you need peace of mind when it comes to COVID-19, go get tested.

There are 20 COVID-19 testing sites open at UW System schools across the state, including University of Wisconsin- Madison.

At UW Madison’s site Thursday, health care workers administered 200 tests to community members. The rapid tests here are a bit different than the ones people would find at Alliant Energy Center. These rapid antigen tests can deliver test results in 15 minutes.

Jack Nitschke, who has had the rapid test, said ,"It’s exactly what we need in the state to hopefully turn things around.”

The UW System partnered up with the US Department of Health and Human Services to make testing free to community members.

In order for the test to work, a nurse would hand the patient a swab and the patient would administer the swab themselves. The test would then go to a different health official, who waits for the result for 15 minutes. Patients wait in the same room for an email with their test results.

Alan Fish, UW Madison Vice Chancellor of Facilities, says if patients test positive, they can do a follow-up test. If patients test negative but have COVID-19 symptoms, they will also receive the follow-up test.

Health officials will immediately administer the confirmation test on site, but those results take three to five days.

“If they are positive here, they’ll want to isolate until they get their confirming test back,” Fish said.

He said the main goal is to get more people tested faster. They also filter out people who could be asymptomatic.

“We’re getting a great response to the community and will be interested to see how much this demand grows as we get closer to Thanksgiving, but we’re off to a great start and will continue to evaluate how much we can ramp up," Fish said.

Tests will increase to 500 per day starting Sunday. Organizers plan to offer testing through December and you can only get a test if you make an appointment.

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