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sm200424-z-vn142-1012Sgt. Bailey Rockney trains to work in a call center in Madison, Wis., April 23, 2020. Approximately 30 Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will serve in a call center to inform individuals who have been tested at specimen collection sites of their COVID-19 test results. Wisconsin National Guard Photo by Spc. Emma Anderson

Editor’s Note: A-roll interviews with Wisconsin National Guard Citizen Soldiers and Airmen working at the call center in Madison is available at: https://dvidshub.net/r/s9dqry

 B-roll imagery depicting Wisconsin National Guard Citizen Soldiers and Airmen working at the call center in Madison is available at: https://dvidshub.net/r/pkyru4

MADISON, Wis. — More than 30 Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers and Airmen continue staffing a call center in Madison to help inform state residents of the results of COVID-19 testing at sites around the state.

sm200407-z-vn142-1124Sgt. Jacob Larson and Airman 1st Class Avery Brandt discuss programming during call center training in Madison, Wis., April 23, 2020. Approximately 30 Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will serve in a call center to inform individuals who have been tested at specimen collection sites of their COVID-19 test results. Wisconsin National Guard Photo by Spc. Emma Anderson

The troops began their mission April 22, as the state ramped up efforts to increase COVID-19 testing capacity. This call center is part of the Wisconsin National Guard’s support of the state’s response to the pandemic where Soldiers and Airmen receive test results from state labs after specimens are collected from mobile testing sites, and then make phone calls to inform citizens of their results.

Results typically take three-to-five days to arrive after testing, and Soldiers and Airmen received Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act training to ensure each patient’s personal medical information stays protected.

sm200424-z-vn142-1014gt. Jacob Larson talks on the phone during call center training in Madison, Wis., April 23, 2020. Approximately 30 Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will serve in a call center to inform individuals who have been tested at specimen collection sites of their COVID-19 test results. Wisconsin National Guard Photo by Spc. Emma Anderson

“We have all gone through our HIPAA certification.” said Sgt. Bailey Rockney, normally a fire direction specialist with the Wisconsin Air National Guard, and one of the Airmen staffing the call center. “It’s important because we all have a right to privacy. Regardless of what's happening in the world that should still be respected.”

Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Allie, the Non-Commissioned Officer in charge of the call center operation, explained how the call center was making a positive impact on the state and its communities.

sm200423-a-vn142-1035Maj. Brian Faltinson provides a public relations briefing to call center personnel in Madison, Wis. April 23, 2020. Approximately 30 Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will serve in a call center to inform individuals who have been tested at specimen collection sites of their COVID-19 test results. Wisconsin National Guard Photo by Spc. Emma Anderson

“What our call center is doing is looking to alleviate some of the stress that is on the county health departments having to make those phone calls,” Allie said. “So by us helping facilitate testing sites and giving the results back to the populace of Wisconsin, it really eases up a lot of burden on local governments.”

Training for those staffing the call center included a legal and medical privacy briefing, a public relations briefing, and training on phone systems and operations.

sm200424-z-vn142-1036Cpl. Connor Schmid talks on the phone during call center training in Madison, Wis. April 23, 2020. Approximately 30 Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will serve in a call center to inform individuals who have been tested at specimen collection sites of their COVID-19 test results. Wisconsin National Guard Photo by Spc. Emma Anderson

“I’m really proud of my community,” said Senior Airman Timothy Mikulcik, a crew chief with the Madison-based 115th Fighter Wing. “I really enjoy living here and serving my community in every way that I can.”

The call center is one of many ways the Wisconsin National Guard continues to serve the state and local communities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The Wisconsin National Guard currently has 15 COVID-19 specimen collection teams operating at sites across the state with plans to grow that capacity to 25 teams in the coming days. Teams of Guardsmen are also supporting a state warehouse moving critical personal protective equipment around the state, serving as poll workers in the May 12 special election in the 7th Congressional District, staffing self-isolation facilities in Milwaukee and Madison, and assisting the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office with mortuary affairs support among other missions.

 


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