A total of 15 specimen collection teams from the Wisconsin National Guard are now operational across Wisconsin supporting local health departments and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services effort to increase the state’s COVID-19 testing capacity.
The teams, comprised of more than 500 Citizen Soldiers and Airmen in total, established mobile testing sites at locations ranging from correctional facilities and health clinics, to private businesses, and community-based testing sites.A number of specimen collection sites have ongoing operations including:
- Brown County: Operations began at the Resch Center April 30 for focused-community testing for select businesses and their families. The Resch Center site opened for community-based testing May 4. As of May 6, more than 2,000 specimens had been collected at the Resch Center. Another Wisconsin National Guard specimen collection team began supporting a second community-based testing site that opened at Casa ALBA in Green Bay May 6.
- Dodge County: One team began specimen collection mission at a food processing facility in Beaver Dam May 8.
- Milwaukee County: Two teams continue supporting two local health clinics after arriving in Milwaukee the week of April 20. Another specimen collection team began operations at a meat-processing facility in Milwaukee May 8.
- Racine County: One team began a specimen collection mission at a medical facility in Sturtevant May 7.
- Croix County: One team established a community-based specimen collection site in Baldwin May 8.
- Walworth County: One team began a specimen collection mission at a food-processing facility in Darien May 7.
- Wood County: One team established a community-based specimen collection site in Wisconsin Rapids May 8.
- Ashland County: One team completed a community-based specimen collection mission at Lake Superior Primary School in Ashland May 7. The team collected approximately 150 specimens.
- Barron County: One team supported a community-based specimen collection mission at the St. Croix Casino Campground in Turtle Lake May 3-4. The team collected 230 specimens.
- Brown County: One National Guard team on site at a food processing facility that began April 28 and concluded by 2 May and collected 738 specimens.
- Buffalo County: Community-based testing in Alma concluded May 1, where a National Guard team collected nearly 200 specimens.
- Burnett County: One National Guard team supported a community-based testing site in Burnett County May 5 and collected 130 specimens.
- Crawford County: One National Guard specimen collection team collected nearly 300 specimens from a factory in Prairie Du Chien May 5.
- Dane County: One team tested more than 1,000 staff and inmates at the Dane County Jail in Madison from April 24-27.
- Douglas County: One National Guard team supported a community-based testing site in Solon Springs May 6 and collected more than 170 specimens.
- Grant County: One team tested more than 270 staff and residents at the Orchard Manor senior living facility in Lancaster April 25. Another team collected more than 230 specimens at a factory in Platteville May 4.
- Kenosha County: More than 650 specimens collected April 28-29 at the Kenosha County Pre-trial facility and Kenosha County Detention Center. One team tested more than 130 individuals at a Pleasant Prairie meat processing facility May 2. Another team collected more than 400 specimens after completing a mission at meat packing facility in Kenosha May 7.
- Milwaukee County: One team tested nearly 1,000 staff and inmates at the Milwaukee County House of Corrections, and a second team completed more than 500 tests at a local meat processing facility April 28. A third team completed testing at a food processing facility in Milwaukee May 4 and collected more than 450 specimens.
- Racine County: One team collected more than 160 specimens at a food processing facility in Burlington May 4.
- Sauk County: More than 175 specimens collected during testing in Baraboo that concluded April 29; Lake Delton seasonal staff dormitory testing concluded April 25 with approximately 175 specimens collected. Another team collected more than 130 specimens at a community-based testing site May 7 in Spring Green.
- Sheboygan County: One team tested nearly 170 staff and residents at the Sunny Ridge Health and Rehabilitation Center April 5.
As of May 7, Wisconsin National Guard teams had collected more than 10,000 specimens statewide.
The Wisconsin National Guard has fulfilled a variety of roles across the state since its response to the COVID-19 pandemic began after a March 12 public health emergency declaration from Gov. Tony Evers. Ongoing Wisconsin National Guard missions include a warehousing mission where 20 Citizen Soldiers are assisting the Wisconsin Department of Health Services at a state warehouse receiving personal protective equipment (PPE) shipments from around the state, repackaging them, and redistributing them to areas in need.
In addition, teams of 12 troops are serving as medical and administrative staff at two separate state-run voluntary self-isolation facilities in Milwaukee and Madison, while another 30 are serving at a Milwaukee County-run self-isolation facility.
Meanwhile a team of Guard members is supporting the Dane County Coroner’s Office and assisting their office with mortuary affairs operations.
The Wisconsin National Guard has completed a number of other missions since the state’s response began in March including when it sent a team of six medics to a senior living facility in Grafton for three days to augment the staff after a COVID-19 outbreak resulted in a temporary staffing shortage.
More than 2,400 Citizen Soldiers and Airmen mobilized to support the Wisconsin Elections Commission during the April 7 election, where they served as poll workers across 71 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. Guard troops also procured and distributed hand sanitizer, wipes, spray bottles, and PPE to polling sites statewide in advance of the election.
Another 250 Guard members will once again serve as poll workers during the May 12 special election in Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District.
Guard members also transported a group of Wisconsin citizens returning from a cruise ship with confirmed COVID-19 cases back to their homes in mid-March after a weeks-long ordeal.
All told, more than 1,400 Citizen Soldiers and Airmen from the Wisconsin National Guard are now serving in direct support of the state’s response to COVID-19 in a variety of statuses.