The Alliant Energy Center saw record-level demands for testing on Tuesday, as well as unusually high wait times. The increased demand for testing comes as the Wisconsin National Guard is pulling out of testing operations at the center.
According to Dane County health officials, the Alliant Energy Center tested 3,150 people in just 8 hours on Tuesday.
Public Health Madison and Dane County Director Janel Heinrich says she’s grateful for the National Guard’s help in handling the increased testing demand.
“Yesterday the National Guard averaged 439 tests per hour, which is equivalent to a test every 8 seconds,” Heinrich says.
Since last Monday however, the Alliant Center has scaled back its hours as the National Guard pulls out of testing operations. At a press conference this morning, Heinrich requested residents to not get repeatedly tested for their personal comfort.
“We really encourage you not to just get tested frequently for your peace of mind,” Heinrich says, “Tests are expensive, we want to make sure that they are focused on those who might need it most.”
Local hospitals have also expressed concern that recent spikes in COVID-19 may impact their operations.
Speaking at a press conference last week, representatives for three area hospitals raised their concerns on the growing hospitalization rate in Dane County. Currently, 60 Dane county residents are hospitalized with Covid-19.
While they say they’re better prepared for a spike in cases in terms of equipment, they could lose much of their staffing due to illness.
Veronica Scott-Fulton, Chief Nursing Officer for SSM Health, says that there are contingency plans in place if cases continue to rise.
“But like the doctor has said, we really do not want to get to that tipping point,” Scott-Fulton says.
Yesterday, Governor Evers announced the opening of the Wisconsin state fair park alternate care facility near Milwaukee. The facility will alleviate pressure on the area’s hospitals.
“Yesterday I warned that our health care systems were tittering, and that they’re on the brink,” Evers said.
The 530-bed field hospital opens next Wednesday.
In addition to COVID testing, the Alliant Energy Center now offers a flu shot clinic, available for Dane County residents without health insurance and Dane County children with Badgercare or medicaid.
No appointment is required, but anyone who has been diagnosed with Covid-19 in the last 14 days, is experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, or waiting for results from a Covid-19 test will not be able to get a flu shot.
The Alliant Energy Center testing hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12pm to 8pm and Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 8am to 4pm. The testing site is closed on Sundays and Mondays.