'We’re always prepared': Wisconsin National Guard continues to work COVID-19 testing sites in bitter cold

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UNION GROVE, Wis. (CBS 58) – As the bitter cold continues to take hold across the area, the COVID-19 testing location at the Racine County Fairgrounds is being closed early on Wednesday, Feb. 10 due to weather.

The Wisconsin National Guard says each health department decides when to close the sites due to weather concerns.

“The COVID-19 testing effort has really been an incredible development over time,” Maj. Joe Trovato said.

Despite the bitter temperatures, Trovato said the National Guard is ready to help in any circumstance.

“We've worked in all sorts of weather at this point, all four seasons and our troops have really just done an incredible job supporting local health departments,” he said. “We feel like we’re always prepared to assist no matter what the conditions are.”

Since March, the Wisconsin National Guard says they’ve done more than one million tests across the state. Many locations are now indoor or sheltered to help everyone cope with the cold.

“We’ve definitely been able to mitigate the risk of operating in extreme cold weather,” he said. “It’s a give and take certainly and a partnership with those local health departments to really modify operations to fit each individual site, each individual community and what their needs are.”

Trovato said there has never been a similar operation in state history.

“This past year, the past 12 months, have been unlike anything we’ve ever done in Wisconsin National Guard history,” he said. “In fact, the COVID mobilization alone represents the single largest sustained domestic mobilization we’ve ever had in Wisconsin National Guard history, which dates all the way back to 1837.”

The testing site at the Racine County Fairgrounds is open every Wednesday.

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