'Everyone who needs a test should get a test': Leaders make major push to increase COVID-19 testing

Posted at 6:47 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 19:56:05-04

MILWAUKEE — "Testing" is a word we hear over and over again from officials, saying it's one of the keys to getting us out of the COVID-19 pandemic and reopening the economy. Now state and local leaders are making a significant push to increase testing in Wisconsin.

According to officials, the more people we can test, the better we can understand the spread of COVID-19.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said we should expect to see more testing in the city in the coming days and weeks.

"If we don't have that testing, then we're flying an airplane in the dark," Barrett said. "We think that community testing is going to be critical for us to be able to find out how quickly we can get the economy back on track."

However, we're not at the point where everyone can get a test because we continue to lack testing supplies and personal protective equipment.

On Monday, Governor Tony Evers said the state is doing everything it can to get there.

"Everyone who needs a test should get a test," Evers said.

At both the state and local levels, there are new efforts to sustain and expand the system of testing for both those with critical and mild symptoms.

The governor has a goal of conducting 85,000 tests per week, 12,000 tests per day, and hopes to reach it through many efforts already in the works.

He announced plans to receive hundreds of thousands of supplies from a variety of health partners to help fill the gap in resources.

"At the qualified health centers, they are getting additional testing that will allow them to do probably hundreds during the course of this week, but the goal is to get to thousands per day," Barrett said.

The state is also deploying National Guard teams to conduct tests in areas with community spread.

"When the National Guard comes in, they're going to come in with the supplies and with their own personal protection equipment," Barrett said.

As testing ramps up, officials think we'll be on our way to preparing for our new normal.

Barrett said after we get a handle on testing, we'll have to make sure we have the tracking abilities to curb another future outbreak.

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