COVID testing: Wisconsin DHS relaunches community program

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) on Thursday, Oct. 7 announced the relaunch of the Testing Pilot Program, now referred to as the Community Testing Support Program.

This program will provide approved applicants across Wisconsin with free testing supplies and courier services through contracted vendors, as well as reimbursement for specimen collection.

"Easy access to COVID-19 testing in all communities is critical to protecting Wisconsin residents from COVID-19 exposure and disease," said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake in a news release. "Through this program, we will bring additional testing resources into communities that need them most and bolster existing testing efforts, ensuring people have the resources they need to make informed decisions and keep themselves and those around them safe from COVID-19."

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Through the initial program, more than 750,000 tests have been conducted at more than 70 locations. 

"People have confidence in and are more eager to access services in their local, trusted spaces, and this is true for COVID-19 testing as well," DHS Deputy Secretary Deb Standridge said in a news release. "We are thankful for all of our partners across the state who have worked throughout this pandemic to ensure all Wisconsinites have access to COVID-19 testing services. We encourage all those eligible to apply for this program so that we can continue this important work."

COVID-19 testing at UMOS

The following entities are eligible to apply for the Community Testing Support Program:

  • Local or tribal health departments
  • Health care providers licensed by the state of Wisconsin
  • Other trained specimen collection individuals or organizations under the authority and oversight of a physician or local or tribal health department

Interested applicants can find more information about program eligibility and steps to apply on the DHS Community Testing Support Program webpage. 

The Community Testing Support Program is funded through the ELC Enhancing Detection Expansion(link is external) grant project, and the deadline to apply is December 15, 2021.

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Testing and vaccinations

People who were in close contact with someone with COVID-19 or who have COVID-19 symptoms should get tested – regardless of vaccination status – the DHS said. 

With the high level of disease transmission in Wisconsin, the DHS continues to urge everyone who is not vaccinated to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and for all people to add additional layers of protection, including masking up indoors, staying home when feeling sick, and avoiding large indoor gatherings.

To find a COVID-19 testing location in your community, visit the DHS COVID-19: Community Testing Sites webpage or call 211.

To find a vaccine provider in your community, visit vaccines.gov(link is external), or call 211 or 877-947-2211.

This story was reported from Milwaukee.

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