National Guard provides up to 400 COVID-19 tests for La Crosse County


UPDATE: According to a post from the La Crosse County Health Department, 304 tests were administered at the testing site.

They will provide more in their press briefing at 2:30 p.m. We will share the briefing on our Facebook page.

A National Guard COVID-19 testing site was available in La Crosse County Thursday.

Testing was free and done on a first come, first served basis with 400 kits available.

Local health systems continue to test those who meet criteria daily, however, this site was open to anyone with symptoms.

“This is just one extra way that we can get as many tests done as possible and it will give us a really clear picture of what our community is dealing with with COVID-19,” said Rachel King with the La Crosse County Health Department.

It’s a collaborative effort between the La Crosse County Health Department, Onalaska Police Department and the National Guard who had 28 members on site.

“They are all part of the Wisconsin National Guard, so they live within Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota– some have volunteered and some have been [assigned] to be here,” said Captain Christina Baurichter, the officer in charge on site.

While wait times vary depending on the number of cars in line, the testing itself takes around five to seven minutes.

“This is a nasal swab today, the non-invasive one,” King said. “It is not what you’ve seen typically at the beginning when everyone was getting tested.”

The health department believes the nasal swab will provide the same accuracy.

Additionally, National Guard members receive training before conducting any tests.

“We have people that know how to do the testing show us how, we practice, and then we get validated to be able to swab the customers,” Baurichter explained.

Members of the National Guard say they’ve never encountered anything like this in their careers, but that serving the community is what they’re here for.

“It’s great to be a part of the goodwill mission and being able to help the community and help the state of Wisconsin open back up,” Baurichter said.

Results will be available in 24 to 48 hours.

The National Guard will contact those with negative results and the health department those who test positive.

Health officials say they are working on additional testing sites as well.

“We’re working on getting something more in the La Crosse city area, so that will be coming forth too as soon as we get the details,” King said.

The health department is hopeful for an abundance of negative test results and says the site will allow them to learn more about the local COVID-19 situation.

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