COVID-19 testing to be made available to anyone, regardless of insurance status

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee leaders said Thursday that free, public COVID-19 testing will begin at two Milwaukee sites next week; that's in addition to other community clinic locations.

Leaders are encouraging essential workers and frontline workers to be tested even if they're not showing symptoms. The announcement coming as new data has revealed the virus' impact on at-risk communities.

Tom Barrett

The new testing sites are going to be open to anyone, regardless of insurance status. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says the Wisconsin National Guard will conduct the community testing at the sites.

"Each site will have the ability to conduct up to 400 tests per day and the sites are open to the public," Barrett said.

And do so for free -- it's part of a push to increase COVID-19 testing across the state.

County Exec. David Crowley

"We want to make sure we encourage essential workers and frontline workers to come and get tested," Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley said.

There have been over 3,600 confirmed coronavirus cases in Milwaukee county. The largest number of cases and deaths have occurred within the African-American community.

New data shows there has been a recent uptick in the county's Hispanic community. Now with a total of 701 cases; 173 were confirmed over the last week.

Darren Rausch

"This is just indicative of community spread through the community as we've seen in all parts of Milwaukee County," Darren Rausch of the Greenfield Health Department said.

Leaders, including Gov. Tony Evers, are encouraging members of at-risk communities to get tested even if they are not showing symptoms.

"If you live in a community, where rates of infection have been reported to be higher than average, we also want to encourage you to come and get tested," Crowley said.

The goal is to slow the spread.

"The more people we can test, the more we can deal with the issues we face as a community," Barrett said.

So far, some of the largest confirmed case jumps have come after testing campaigns at Patrick Cudahy and Milwaukee County's House of Correction. That could change as testing increases.

Barrett says more details on testing sites and times will be released later this week.