Milwaukee COVID-19 testing sites reopen; long lines on Monday

Posted at 7:33 AM, Dec 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-27 18:29:04-05

MILWAUKEE — The city of Milwaukee testing sites reopened Monday, after being closed over the holiday weekend, and much like last week, the lines are very long.

Local health leaders say they are seeing a spike in testing and they're working hard to meet the demand.

One-by-one, drivers pull their cars up and get in line to receive a COVID test.

Lines at the Southside Health Center were long throughout the day.

Michelle Starzyk was among the people in line waiting to get tested.

She scheduled her appointment online and was surprised by how long it took to get through.

"I am a little shocked we've been here since 9:10, almost an hour and 45 minutes," Starzyk.

Others say they waited more than an hour.

"We've got three sites we are staffing up," Dr. Nick Tomaro of the city of Milwaukee Health Department. "We are moving some people that normally do vaccinations into a testing role."

According to the Milwaukee Health Department, more than 19,000 COVID tests were done between Dec. 17 and Dec. 23.

On Monday, Dec. 20, more than 5,000 people got tested in just one day. The last time we saw daily testing numbers that high was back in September.

"I'm exceptionally concerned about the numbers of infectious people we will have. Cases are going up rapidly," Tomaro said.

Even though testing is up, the number of new cases in the city of Milwaukee is down slightly.

As of last Wednesday, the 7-day average was 222, down from an average of 318 the week before.

Kiarri McBroom said he brought his family to get tested for peace of mind.

"There's been a lot of colds going around and everything," McBroom said. "We wanted to make sure the kids are safe."

He said despite the process being time consuming, the long lines are also reassuring.

"I'm glad that people are out here being responsible and coming to get tested," McBroom stated.

Tomaro said they're still able to turn around results in about 24-hours, but given the volume of testing happening, it can take longer than normal. He simply asks people to be patient.

He also adds people can help reduce the wait times by pre-registering, at this link.

City testing sites will be closed from Friday through Jan. 2.

Free testing is available for anyone 1 year or older, and can be done via drive-thru or walk-up.

These are the city's testing sites. For a complete list of hours, click here.

Northwest Health Center, 7630 W. Mill Road:

Drive-thru garage – Enter at Mill Road Library, 6431 N. 76th St.
• Monday & Friday: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
• Tuesday & Thursday: 12 - 6 p.m.
• Saturday: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Southside Health Center, 1639 S. 23rd St.:

Drive-thru heated tent in North parking lot - Enter on 24th St.
• Monday & Friday: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
• Tuesday & Thursday: 12 - 6 p.m.
• Saturday: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Menomonee Valley Site, 2401 W. St. Paul Ave.:

Drive-thru garage
• Monday, Wednesday, Fridays: 12 - 6 p.m.
• Tuesday & Thursday: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

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