County establishes new COVID testing location

By Patrick Lynn

The county health department has opened COVID-19 testing in a new location.

The free testing services were previously offered via a drive-through at The Lincoln Center. To continue testing during colder weather, Portage Co. Health and Human Services has established an indoor testing facility at the Portage Co. Courthouse.

The service opened on Oct. 5.

The county will provide PCR testing for anyone with symptoms of COVID-19. Anyone with symptoms, or who believes they have had contact with another symptomatic person, is encouraged to get a test regardless of their vaccination status.

PCR means “polymerase chain reaction.” It’s a test to detect genetic material from a specific organism, such as a virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

According to a news release from the county, COVID-19 testing is an “important tool to stop disease

Anyone who wishes to receive the free test should enter the northside ramp of the courthouse. Signs will be posted. Tests are offered on Tuesdays from 1-5 p.m. and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

Appointments can be made in advance by calling 715.346.1978.

COVID symptoms include cough (new onset or worsening of chronic cough), shortness of breath, fever or chills, sore throat, running nose, fatigue and body aches, headaches, loss of taste or smell, and gastrointestinal problems, though not everyone with COVID experiences symptoms. Asymptomatic people can still spread the virus to others.

The Wisconsin Department of Health also offered free test kits by mail. The kits are shipping via UPS and can be requested at dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/collection.htm.