Southeastern Wisconsin health care providers rush to open drive-thru testing sites for coronavirus

Posted at 6:30 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 19:30:42-04

MILWAUKEE — As the coronavirus continues to spread across the country, more opportunities for testing are popping up in Southeastern Wisconsin. Drive-thru testing sites will be opening soon in Milwaukee.

Cones and yellow tape line the driveway behind Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center in Milwaukee. Officials said they expect to open a drive-thru testing site for the coronavirus there early next week.

St. Luke's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Nkem Iroegbu addressed the status of these testing stations.

"We anticipate we will have drive-thru testing at most of our sites, but that's going to come in phases," Dr. Iroegbu said.

The initial phase for Aurora Health Care includes six sites with two in Wisconsin at St. Luke's and Baycare in Green Bay, and four in Illinois. Right now, only two of the six are operational, both in Illinois.

"The sites have to be put up. There's construction that's needed," Dr. Iroegbu said.

So far, the only drive-thru site in Southeastern Wisconsin is at Froedtert South's Pleasant Prairie Clinic. On the second day of operations Wednesday, cars continued to roll up for their appointments.

The process will be similar to St. Luke's.

To get tested, you will need to first call Aurora's coronavirus hotline at 866-443-2584 or log onto their LiveWell phone app for a virtual visit. A nurse will screen you and decide whether to register you for testing at the drive-thru.

"Patients have to follow the process so that we create some efficiency around it," Dr. Iroegbu said.

Your test will get processed either by the state or city lab or by ACL Laboratories through Aurora, which will soon be able to perform at least 400 tests across the Aurora system and return results in less than 24 hours.

Milwaukee VA Medical Center Director Daniel Zomchek said they're also screening veterans.

"We are piloting a new process of swabbing individuals," Zomchek said.

He said they're sending potentially positive samples to the state and city labs to test.

"We don't do any testing here onsite. We're hoping to be able to get that authority as this is really happening throughout the country," Zomchek said.

Other local health care providers tell TMJ4 News they're also working on drive-thru testing sites. Expect to see more in the area in the coming days and weeks.

Report a typo or error // Submit a news tip

Coronavirus in Wisconsin

More data on Wisconsin's vaccination progress here.

Find a vaccination site here.

Check out county-by-county coronavirus case numbers here.

More information: COVID-19 on the Wisconsin DHS website

Latest news and headlines here.