COVID-19 testing capacity more than triples in Waukesha County

Communities are ramping up testing efforts across southeastern Wisconsin amid the state's continued surge in COVID-19 cases. In Waukesha County, up to 3,000 people can be tested per week as testing capacity has more than tripled in the county in October.

So far, the staff hasn't reached that capacity, but at the Waukesha County Expo Center, the daily capacity was reached Monday, Oct. 26, and the testing site closed four hours early.

Waukesha County Expo Center

The Waukesha County Expo Center's parking lot sat empty Monday afternoon after the COVID-19 free community testing site ran out of tests by 1:15 p.m. 

"Mondays over the last few weeks have just been really busy," said Bridget Gnadt, preparedness coordinator for the Waukesha County Department of Health and Human Services.

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Gnadt wanted to assure residents that the county has more than enough tests for the remainder of the week, urging those who were turned away to come back when the drive-thru site is less busy. 

"We have not yet maxed out our testing capacity," she said.

Anticipating a fall surge in coronavirus cases, the Department of Health and Human Services teamed up with Village Primary Care Providers and the Wisconsin National Guard to ramp up testing efforts through the end of 2020.

"The testing capacity has increased by about 250% since the second week of October," said Gnadt.

The Expo Center is open five days a week, where staffers are able to administer up to 450 tests.

In the meantime, Carroll University officials have opened campus for a second free community testing site on Tuesdays and Thursdays. NOTE: The testing is not on campus -- it is 237 Main Street in Waukesha -- separate from campus. 

"Waukesha County has been seeing an uptick in our positivity rate and the number of people testing positive for COVID-19," said Gnadt. "That's really why have been pursuing these testing partnerships." 

It's a partnership Gnadt says is an important piece of the increasingly challenging puzzle to control the spread of the virus. 

"It helps us identify cases of COVID-19 so that appropriate contact tracing and disease investigation can occur, and people can be provided with the appropriate information on the precautions they can take to prevent further spread," she said.

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