By Brandi Makuski
National Guard soldiers attached to a special task force conducted 348 nasal swab tests for the COVID-19 virus this week in Stevens Point.
Task Force Delta, comprised of members from several different Wisconsin National Guard units, were at Portage Co. Health and Human Services on May 11 and 12. The free testing was offered to any county resident over the age of 5 who exhibited at least one symptom of the coronavirus. Asymptomatic individuals were not tested.
The Guard brought with them 500 tests to help gauge the outbreak in Portage Co., and Health Officer Gary Garske said the testing could reveal some new cases. But even if it doesn’t, he said, that doesn’t mean Portage Co. is “in the clear.”
“It will support the fact that social distancing is working, and we need to continue ongoing testing efforts in our community to support reopening activities,” Garske said.
Task Force Delta conducted a similar testing event last week in Wood Co., where soldiers collected 260 of 600 available tests, according to public relations officer, Staff Sgt. David Talusky. That testing yielded two additional positive cases.
Talusky said the tests will be processed within 3-5 days, and patients will be contacted directly with their results. Anyone who took the test is being asked to self-isolate until they receive their results.
Several agencies assisted with the testing event at the Ruth Gilfry building this week, including the Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office, Stevens Point Police Department, and county highway department. About a dozen health dept. employees also assisted with patient paperwork.