MILWAUKEE — Almost a year since COVID-19 swept across the U.S. and into Wisconsin, the state's National Guard announced Thursday that it has administered over 1 million coronavirus tests.
The Guard has taken a point position in the state's fight against the virus, the most important task being manning dozens of testing stations - including the sprawling alternate care facility operation at Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis.
The widespread testing effort, aided by the Guard, has proved essential as health officials try to track the spread of the virus, and ultimately attempt to halt its spread.
In a statement Thursday, Gov. Tony Evers said that the Guard's deployment in providing COVID-19 tests across the state has been their longest activation in Wisconsin history.
“This milestone further exemplifies the absolutely vital role the Wisconsin National Guard has played in our state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to Evers.
Their testing obligations come as the Guard has also assisted at polling stations during one of the country's most divisive elections, and deployed in the state's largest cities amid civil unrest over police brutality, including in Milwaukee, Wauwatosa and Kenosha.
Almost 700 members of the Guard are currently assisting the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Evers' Office.
“Testing is one of the tools we use to slow the spread of this virus," said Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm in a statement. "And when we needed help increasing testing throughout our state, the Guard answered the call, and continues to be a valuable partner in helping ensure that anyone who needs a test can get one.”