Hundreds turn out for first day of COVID-19 testing at new Milwaukee sites

NOW: Hundreds turn out for first day of COVID-19 testing at new Milwaukee sites

Updated: 10:30 p.m. on May 11, 2020

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Hundreds turned out for the first day of the new COVID-19 testing sites.

The site were opened on the north and south side with the goal of testing whoever wants to be tested. Judging by the turnout, there was a big need for it.

"Hundreds of people were already in lien at the two sites hours before they opened this morning at 8 a.m.," said Captain Joe Trovato, Wisconsin National Guard. "There have been some long lines today resulting in some long waits, a few hours in some cases, but the test itself is a relatively quick process, usually just a couple of minutes."

There are already more than a dozen places to get tested in the city, but the two new sites are for everyone, whether you have symptoms or not.

"I think what we're seeing today is that pent up demand from people who want to be tested," said Ann Christiansen, Health Director with North Shore Health Department. 

"The goal is to have a lot more testing so we can have a lot more of a baseline as to where our community is," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Once people are tested, the results will take a few days. 

The city knows the more people they find with the virus, the easier it is to contain. But they stress that even if you test negative, it's still not the end of the process.

"A negative is not a reason to stop social distancing, and it's not a reason to discontinue basic infectious disease hygiene," said Dr. Ben Weston.

Judging by Monday's turnout, officials are already making plans to expand the sites.

"If we continue to see demand this great, I think that would certainly make the case for us working with the governor's office, with the National Guard to add more sites."

The National Guard says they have plenty of tests right now, so they aren't worried about running out.

They have no end date, so they will stay as long as there is demand for tests. 


Posted: 4:52 p.m. on May 11, 2020

MILWAUKEE, WI (CBS 58) – People waited hours in line to get tested at a COVID-19 testing site on the city’s south side Monday. It’s one of two new free sites being offered.

The line zigzagged through the UMOS parking lot on Chase Avenue. In a matter of minutes, people were tested without having to leave their cars.

CBS 58 spoke with some essential workers who say getting tested helped with their peace of mind.

“I got here at about 9:30,” said Larry Kronberg as he waited in line. It was just past noon when we caught up with Krongberg, who, like many other people, waited hours in line to get tested.

Some people also chose to simply walk up.

“I just walked on up,” says Penny McGee. “They ask you for your name, your address, and everything went well.”

McGee is an essential employee with a cleaning company. She says getting tested was about having peace of mind.

“To know that once the economy opens back up I can go back around my group of people,” says McGee. “I will be passing the word along to them so they can also get tested.”

“They take your drivers license, but I think that’s just to facilitate getting the name and address correctly,” says Timothy Kant. “It was just a little bit uncomfortable, not as much as the old test where they had to go way up in your nostril.”

People then get their results in 3-5 days. If they can’t be reached, that information then goes to their local health department.

“I applaud the state and National Guard for setting this up,” said Kant. “I want to make sure it is safe for me to go back to work.”

You can also get tested in the parking lot of Midtown on the city’s north side.

Testing is being done seven days a week from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.

You don’t need to make an appointment and you don’t have to be showing any symptoms to get tested.

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