Health care workers brave bitter cold temperatures at testing sites in Milwaukee

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) - Health care workers braved the cold Monday, Jan. 10 to test people for COVID-19 as testing begins to taper off in some areas.

Despite those single-digit temps, health care workers stood outside all day Monday to make sure everyone who needed a test got one.

"We have a tent that we can come in, a warming tent, and the cars move through pretty quickly through here, so it's not too bad," Certified Nursing Assistant Louise Noelle said.

While testing still remains high, Nick Tomaro with the Milwaukee Health Department said it is beginning to taper off. Since last Thursday, testing at the three city of Milwaukee sites has dropped off 25 percent.

"We have obviously tried everything we can for staff. Parkas, hot hands, gloves, we have heated areas inside our building. Can't say enough about the staff, they're working really, really hard," Tomaro said. "I think it has to do with the holidays to a certain extent. I think there's a lot of factors for people coming in for testing around the holidays -- trying to be safe, getting together with family, some people traveling."

Summit Clinical Labs in New Berlin is also seeing a drop-off on testing, but staffing has become an issue.

"We are down, about 15 percent of our workforce is sick. We're just like any other workplace. We're having the same issues as everyone else, so it is kind of crazy having the added demand with rest of the workforce," co-owner Faisal Ahmed-Yahia said.

He said Monday saw shorter lines than last week. He expects to test about 200 fewer people.

"I think it was just a perfect storm of omicron and then the holidays, and now the holidays are starting to taper off, people that have had exposures and what not," Ahmed said.

If you do get tested at one of the city of Milwaukee testing sites, the city said it is quicker to pre-register before you go.

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