The first widespread testing for COVID-19 took place in Superior on Wednesday, July 29, at the middle school.

Nearly 100 cars were lined up when the event started, but only 275 people took advantage of an event, short of the 500 people the National Guard was prepared to test.

“With our increase in number of positive cases, I expected a larger turnout,” Kathy Ronchi, Douglas County public health officer, said. “People were encouraged to be tested if they were having symptoms or were contacts to positive cases. The low turnout may indicate we have fewer people who are experiencing symptoms in our community.”

As of Thursday morning, 102 Douglas County residents have tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Results for the testing administered Wednesday in Superior and Thursday in Solon Springs are expected to come back in three to seven days.

People in their cars line up around Superior Middle School Wednesday for free COVID-19 testing. (Tyler Schank / tschank@duluthnews.com)
People in their cars line up around Superior Middle School Wednesday for free COVID-19 testing. (Tyler Schank / tschank@duluthnews.com)

Testing was available both days to any Wisconsin resident age 5 or older.

“Many people arrived early so the wait at the beginning was a bit longer,” Ronchi said. “However, many people utilized the option to preregister online, which allowed for more efficient processing through the line.”

The National Guard testing event was coordinated by Douglas County Public Health and Emergency Management along with the support of multiple other agencies including environmental health, law enforcement, public works, highway department and the hosting sites.