Wisconsin to offer at-home COVID-19 testing option

NOW: Wisconsin to offer at-home COVID-19 testing option

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Gov. Tony Evers, together with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), announced Tuesday, Dec. 22, a new contract with Vault Medical Services that will add an additional tool to the Wisconsin COVID-19 testing toolbox starting Tuesday. At-home COVID-19 saliva collection kits will be available to everyone who lives in Wisconsin, with or without symptoms, at no cost.

“We believe that anyone in Wisconsin who needs to be tested for COVID-19 should have access to a test, and I’m proud of our statewide testing efforts throughout this pandemic,” said Gov. Evers. “We also know that getting to a health care provider or a community testing site isn’t easy for everyone, and that’s why we are excited to offer this new option to make testing even more accessible for folks across our state.”

Wisconsinites can order a collection kit online and have it shipped to their home. The kit will include detailed instructions on how to collect the saliva, which includes a video call with a testing supervisor through Vault Medical Services, and ship it back via UPS dropbox to the lab for processing.

“This is an important tool to provide easy access to COVID-19 testing,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “As we roll out the COVID-19 vaccine to more Wisconsinites, we need to continue testing, contact tracing, and public health measures such as wearing a mask and social distancing.”

A saliva test is similar to a nasal swab test you might receive from a provider or at a community testing site. Like a nasal swab test, a saliva test determines whether you have an active COVID-19 infection and can spread it to others.

Health experts say it may not be as accurate as in-person testing, but right now they're seeing the number of daily tests drop. They want to do everything they can to make the process easier. 

"Since Thanksgiving, we've seen a pretty continuous drop in the number of people being tested at Miller Park, and that's concerning to us," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. "In our state, everyone who needs a test, should get a test."

More information can be found on the Wisconsin COVID-19 testing webpage, HERE

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