As test volume increases, spike seen in Milwaukee County's positive COVID-19 cases

MILWAUKEE -- Since the first COVID-19 test in early March, Milwaukee County has steadily increased testing, administering nearly 17,000 tests to date and nearly 3,000 in the last week.

"Up to this point, we've tested people who mostly need to be hospitalized and who have severe symptoms. Moving forward, we're going to be testing anyone who is symptomatic," said Dr. Ben Weston of the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management.

Officials say county case numbers now doubling at about every 18 days. The transmission rate for every one case, another person is infected, and that rate needs to be below one, as testing is increasing, so will the number of cases.

"Percentage of cases are going to start to become a more true identifier of the burden of disease in our community," Weston said.

Those tests being offered regardless of income, insurance or immigration status.

Start by calling 2-1-1 to get set up with a clinic near you. After a phone assessment, an appointment will be made to do the test safely in your car. If you don't have transportation, don't take public transit -- other accommodations will be made.

Also, starting Friday, the Walgreens near 6th and Oklahoma will be offering free appointment-only testing.

While not discouraging the option, county health leaders encouraging testing through community clinics to connect people with needed healthcare, resources and tracing if the test comes back positive.

"The more testing we can have, the better. I don't think there's one test that's better than the other. But certainly, we need more access and we need more availability through our communities," Rausch said.

Officials are urging that if you have any of the COVID-19 symptoms, or believe you've been in contact with someone who has, call your primary care doctor or 2-1-1, to be connected with a health clinic in your area.

Resources to keep you informed about COVID-19

CLICK HERE to view the Milwaukee County COVID-19 dashboard.

CLICK HERE to view the latest COVID-19 totals (updated daily at 2 p.m.) from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. A Fox Television Stations initiative to provide you with the most up-to-date national and international news on COVID-19.

    Helpful phone numbers

      About COVID-19 (from the CDC)

      Symptoms: Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure (based on the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses).