Enhancing Access to Critical Testing Needs in Rural Communities
November 6, 2020
NEENAH, Wis. – In recent weeks, Wisconsin has experienced numerous days of record-breaking COVID-19 cases. On November 4, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services confirmed 5,935 new coronavirus cases. Counties in Northeast and Central Wisconsin are now seeing the number of cases per 100,000 people exceed the state’s average.
“We know that to best manage community spread of COVID-19, testing and contact tracing are critical,” said Dr. Jennifer Frank, ThedaCare Chief Medical Officer. “Testing gives us insight to the breadth and depth of those infected in our communities, and thus what the future numbers may be.”
In an effort to provide enhanced access to COVID-19 testing, ThedaCare is standing up and coordinating mobile testing sites in the rural communities we serve.
Testing will be offered from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the following dates/locations:
- November 6 – ThedaCare Medical Center-New London
- November 9 – Shawano High School (220 County Road B. in Shawano)
- November 10 – ThedaCare Medical Center-Waupaca
- November 11 – Shawano High School
- November 12 – ThedaCare Medical Center-Wild Rose
- November 13 – Shawano High School
The drive-through testing is free and is available to all community members experiencing symptoms, those who believe they may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and anyone who is worried about possibly having the virus. Though appointments are not required, they are recommended; individuals can pre-register online at doineedacovid19test.com or register onsite. You do not need to be a ThedaCare patient to receive a test. Those seeking testing do not need to be a resident of the community where these testing sites are located. Individuals under 18 years old must have a parent or legal guardian present to consent to testing.
“In addition to helping patients get proper treatment and protect their families, testing helps public health officials and community leaders better understand the infection and spread, allowing the public to take individual and collective action to keep themselves and others safe,” said Dr. Frank.
Results will be given online, or through a phone call if necessary. The mobile testing site schedule will likely be expanded, and that information will shared with community members.
In addition to the mobile testing sites in rural communities, the federal COVID-19 surge testing site at ThedaCare Physicians-Neenah continues to operate. Testing is free. Individuals can make an appointment on doineedacovid19test.com or register onsite.
For those unsure about their symptoms and want more information about whether or not they should seek testing, ThedaCare also offers a free online symptom checker, which can be found at thedacarecovid19.org. After completing a brief questionnaire about symptoms, individuals will be given more information about next steps to take, including how to schedule a test.
While testing is an important asset in treating patients and understanding and controlling the virus’s spread, we encourage community members to practice COVID-19 prevention guidelines.
“Our communities have proven to be resilient,” said Dr. Frank. “The severity of this virus is not over, and we must refocus our efforts as we’ve done before. Let’s re-double our individual and collective efforts and recommit to protecting ourselves and our community by doing what we know works.”
ThedaCare is asking Wisconsinites to follow guidelines outlined by physicians, public health officials, the CDC, local hospitals and other health care experts, including:
- Practice social distancing
- Avoid large gatherings, especially indoors
- Wear a mask in public
- Avoid handshakes, hugs and kisses
- Wash hands often with soap and water
- Clean and disinfect common household surfaces
- Avoid people who are sick, stay away from others if you are sick
- Get your flu shot early
For more information about testing, community resources and prevention guidelines, visit thedacarecovid19.org.