School based testing options grow in Dane County

The program provides COVID-19 tests for K-12 schools.
Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 2:37 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Several school districts within Dane County are taking advantage of the state’s school-based testing program.

It provides testing for K-12 teachers, staff, students, and their families during the 2021-2022 school year. Once opted into the program, a school is matched with a testing vendor.

Ken Van Horn, the PHMDC Testing Director, says school administrators collaborate with the approved testing vendors.

“Schools and the vendor negotiate what kind of testing they need and how they’d like to implement that,” said Van Horn.

Health officials say rolling out this program has come with growing pains.

“Both the schools and DHS are working really closely with those vendors in order to get that ironed out and to make testing even smoother and easier in schools,” said Van Horn. “It’s kind of what we should expect with a really big new program that’s less than a month old. I think that things will get easier as we get a little bit of practice with it.”

With the addition of school-based testing, PHMDC officials report a jump in over 1,000 more tests being done per day. Last week, county-wide there was an average of 3,170 tests per day. This week, that number jumped to 4,220 tests per day.

Health officials say the increased demand for testing also brings a delay in test results response time.

Van Horn says about 78% of tests are coming back with 24 hours.

“Almost all the rest are coming back between 24-48 hours,” said Van Horn. “If you need test results, you need to plan a little bit further ahead because we’re not going to see these 24-hour results as reliably as we did in the past few months.”

PHMDC says there are more testing options available now than ever before in the county.

To view the over 40 different COVID-19 test sites, click HERE.

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