Wisconsin releases COVID-19 testing guidelines

NOW: Wisconsin releases COVID-19 testing guidelines

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – New guidelines are in place to handle the surge of people needing COVID-19 testing in Milwaukee County.

“The number of confirmed cases goes up, and up, and up,” said County Executive Chris Abele.

The county is now trying to keep up with testing demands. They are now processing tests longer hours, seven days a week.

“As of yesterday we’re good, but at the pace we’re going now, yesterday we were like OK we’re good, but we’re getting a lot more and it’s going to be extremely challenging for us to keep pace,” said County Health Commissioner Dr. Jeanette Kowalik.

It’s a nationwide problem, there are shortages all over the country.

That’s why the state has now released a new 4 tier system for who gets tested. People in hospitals and health care workers are a top priority.

But there is a category that for now, will not get tested at all. “There’s a suggested 'not to test' category and that’s those with mild symptoms and those with no symptoms,” said Dr. Ben Wetson.

“People that are considered low-risk or their symptoms are mild are not being prioritized for testing at this time, due to the limitations in test kits that are available across the country,” said Dr. Kowalik.

Health officials continue to urge everyone to stay home, stay away from groups and help them do their jobs.

“I look at this as a tidal wave, and we’re bracing for it, so what are we doing to brace for it,” said Dr. Kowalik.

“The degree to what we do a good job of in this community in following this advice and social distancing,” said Abele, “in a very real way is going to have a impact on how many lives we save and lives we lose, not five years from now not one year from now, in the next couple of months.”

The county also says not every bar and restaurant is following the take-out only guidelines.

The county says they will be warned, and if they don’t listen the could face penalties of fines and possibly jail time.

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