A free rapid-results COVID-19 testing site opened Monday, Nov. 9, on the University of Wisconsin-Superior campus.
Testing will be provided from 2-6 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Mertz Mortorelli Gym in the Marcovich Wellness Center. Registration is required. The surge testing site is supported through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the UW-System. UWS Dean of Students Harry Anderson said the UW-System received 250,000 tests that were distributed to campuses throughout the state.
“The addition of this testing site is in response to the increasing number of cases in our region, and we are pleased to take this leadership role,” said Chancellor Renée Wachter.
UWS has been offering COVID-19 antigen testing to roughly 400 residential students every two weeks since Sept. 8, Anderson said. Results are available on the school's dashboard. The students who are tested are asymptomatic, he said, so they catch cases before students even know they have the virus. That same concept is behind the rapid testing site.
"On campus we've been very aggressive about testing for our residential students," Anderson said. "Now this gives us the opportunity, obviously, to expand to off-campus students, our employees on campus and the general community."
Abbott BinaxNOW antigen tests that provide a result in about 15 minutes will be used. The tests are self-administered using a light nasal swab under the supervision of medical professionals. Confirmation tests, which take longer to process, will also be available for those who need them.
The UWS testing site is open to Minnesota and Wisconsin residents 5 years of age or older, whether or not they are experiencing symptoms. It is also available to UWS students and employees.
The first to be tested Monday was Bob Berg, of Superior, who signed up after seeing a post on Facebook. He was followed by UWS employee John McCormick, of Superior, and UWS student Maisie Johnson, of Hermantown.
"I think this is an awesome option, because I wouldn't have gotten tested if it wasn't for this free site," said Johnson, a business major.
The process was easy — Johnson compared it to wiping her nose — and she said she was surprised to hear how quick the turnaround time was.
"I have to get tested for work, so I thought I was going to be out for a few days, but if I am negative I get to find out today and so I can go back to work tomorrow, which is great," Johnson said.
Registration is required at doineedacovid19test.com. Participants can retrieve their results by logging into the portal after receiving an email that informs them their results are ready. A limited number of spots are available daily on a first come, first served basis. Masks are required. The gym is located at 1810 Catlin Ave. Participants should park on Mortorelli Drive or Parking Lot 4 and enter through the gym doors.
Anderson said they expect to continue testing at the site for up to six weeks, testing up to 90 people per day. The hours will fluctuate with community needs.
Having the gymnasium set up for testing will not impact any academic classes, Anderson said, and UWS has the option to use its fieldhouse or leverage its relationship with Superior High School should any athletics needs arise.
Visit uwsuper.edu/COVIDtest for more information.