UW system partners with HHS to provide rapid COVID-19 tests

Posted at 6:53 PM, Nov 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 06:26:38-05

MILWAUKEE — The University of Wisconsin System has partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the creation of “surge-testing” sites for a new rapid-results COVID-19 test.

The test is the Abbot BinaxNOW and the HHS will supply the testing.

“Our universities are perfectly positioned to help Wisconsin combat the spread of COVID-19,” UW System President Tommy Thompson said in a press release sent to TMJ4 News. “This is the Wisconsin Idea in action, and a recognition of our existing work to keep our students, faculty, and staff as safe as possible during the pandemic.”

Officials with the UW System said the rapid nasal test will be able to produce a result within 15 minutes.

Rapid testing for anyone is coming to University of Wisconsin campuses statewide, including UW-Milwaukee. The testing will be available for anyone, and not just UW staff and students.

The goal is to produce and administer 250-thousand tests to help quell surging cases in the state.

Some will see the tests as soon as Thursday other campuses will begin testing soon after.

“They [HHS] asked if we could do some more testing so I said, ‘Sure but we need resources,’” Thompson recalled on a call when reporters Wednesday.

Thompson said the UW System is the first partner with the HHS in providing special surge-testing using these rapid testing tools on campuses.

The test is the Abbot BinaxNOW is a nasal test that is reported to produce results in fifteen minutes. the tests, a part of a batch purchased by the federal government in August.

“This is a surge capacity to get those that are asymptomatic out of the area and quarantine them,” Thompson said.

It’s welcome news for people in the UW-Milwaukee campus community who are hoping the quick tests will be accurate.

“It’s definitely helpful for this time,” said student Josie Wolniakowski.

Shannon Sievers often plays the mobile game Pokemon Go on Campus. She said she is all for anything that will make campuses safer.

“There are so many people on campus at one time. So many people coming into contact with one another. You want to know if you’ve been exposed,” she said.

Testing start dates for campuses can be found here

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