Wisconsin National Guard administers 1M+ COVID-19 tests

Members of the Wisconsin National Guard test residents for COVID-19 at a temporary test facility set up in the parking lot of the UMOS corporate headquarters on Oct. 9, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The Wisconsin National Guard has administered their one-millionth COVID-19 test, Governor Tony Evers announced Thursday, Jan. 7, representing "a significant milestone" in the effort to offer regular, widespread testing statewide.

"This milestone further exemplifies the absolutely vital role the Wisconsin National Guard has played in our state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic," said Gov. Evers in a news release. "This has been the longest activation of the Guard in state history and yet day in and day out the Guard answers the call to help their neighbors and communities. Whether through testing, working at the polls on election day, helping local governments, or assisting in our vaccine distribution program, we greatly appreciate their service and dedication to our state."

Members of the Wisconsin National Guard operate a mobile COVID-19 test center on the grounds of Miller Park on October 29, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin National Guard began establishing mobile COVID-19 testing sites in April 2020 at senior living facilities, correctional facilities, health clinics and businesses upon requests from local health officials. In May, the Wisconsin Guard began working with local communities to establish regular and long-term community-based testing sites.

Testing at Wisconsin National Guard supported sites represent only a portion of the testing available statewide.

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Over the course of the fall, testing at large-scale enduring testing sites in Milwaukee and Madison transitioned to civilian-run operations as the National Guard’s efforts shifted to a regional-based testing model that offered more net testing on a regular basis to a larger number of communities in every region of the state, the governor's news release noted.

COVID-19 testing at Miller Park

National Guard forces in other states have also assisted with COVID testing, however, in no other state has the guard shouldered such a heavy share of their state’s testing efforts, the governor said, and the Wisconsin National Guard is tops in the nation for number of tests administered, Evers said.

Nearly 700 citizen-soldiers and airmen from the Wisconsin National Guard are currently serving in direct support of the state’s on-going response to COVID-19 in a variety of statuses.