A National Guard member conducts a COVID-19 test during Tuesday’s free drive-thru testing clinic in the Burlington High School parking lot. The National Guard partnered with Racine officials to conduct the test and collect specimens for laboratory examination. (Photo by Jason Arndt)

National Guard conducts coronavirus testing in school parking lot

By Jason Arndt

Staff Writer

The Wisconsin National Guard, in partnership with multiple health departments, have ramped up free drive-thru testing for COVID-19 statewide including a stop at Burlington High School.

The Burlington site, which saw more than 300 people tested on Monday, attempts to meet testing demand in Racine County as well as surrounding counties.

The temporary clinic continues Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. It is open to anyone, not just Racine County residents, including people from out-of-state who work in Wisconsin.

“This is part of a broader effort to increase testing throughout Racine County,” said Mark Schaaf, Racine County Communications and Media Relations Director.

According to Schaaf, a total of 657 people were tested in the first two days, including 353 on Monday.

Although the testing site is in Racine County, if a resident from a neighboring municipality tests positive, officials will report results to that jurisdiction.

Schaaf said the clinic will not artificially inflate numbers within Racine County.

He said the temporary drive-thru testing site comes under the umbrella of the Central Racine County Health Department and Racine County Emergency Operations Center in partnership with the Wisconsin National Guard.

CRCHD Health Officer Margaret Gesner reports the partnership will expand opportunities for anyone with COVID-19 symptoms.

“Many people with COVID-19 symptoms have been unable to get tested for a variety of reasons,” Gesner said. “The goal of this clinic is to provide access to testing to anyone in the community with symptoms. It is important to provide symptomatic residents and workers as well as symptomatic contacts to cases with testing in order to help identify cases and mitigate the spread of disease.”

Testing is available for people 5 an older, but minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who can consent.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include, but are not limited to: a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher; cough; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; sore throat; headache; muscle aches; new abnormalities in taste or smell.

To read the full story and view additional photos see the May 14 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.