State uses National Guard for drive-thru testing in rural western Wisconsin

Wisconsin National Guard Photo by 1st Lt Meghan Skrepenski

Wisconsin leaders turned to the National Guard to assist with drive-thru testing for rural areas in the western parts of the state, that have faced obstacles to getting tested.

Officials say about 30 citizen-soldiers from the Guard helped support the Wisconsin Department of Health's testing site in Buffalo County.

Officials said that before this test site was set up, there was a limited amount of testing available for the area.

On Friday, nearly 200 residents were able to have specimens collected for testing.

The turnout shows the need for COVID-19 testing in rural areas, Buffalo County Emergency Management Director Bruce Fuerbringer said.

"This just goes to show that even in the rural setting where people think this isn’t a big deal, it is a big deal, as there is a concern," he said. "I think this is a huge service to the residents of these counties and others that came in to get it because it’s free and you don’t have to have a doctor’s orders to come and get it." 

Both Wisconsin and Minnesota have made efforts to ramp up their testing in recent weeks.