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Last day of lone Rock Co. testing site

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 6:40 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The National Guard assisted the City of Janesville this week with its COVID-19 drive-thru testing site, which is currently the only site in Rock County.

The site has been able to test about 500 people per day, but after Friday, Rock County will not have a public COVID-19 testing site.

Resident Rachel Bieck reflected on what it would be like if she could not be tested for COVID-19 near her home.

“I would not want to do that drive and sit with all of those people,” Bieck said.

She would have had to drive about an hour to find the closest testing site- and with a car load of children.

Public Health Madison Dane County says that even though only 6% of Rock County residents accounted for the total number of tests at Alliant Energy Center testing site, the number of Rock County residents who are driving up for screenings dropped significantly on the day the Janesville site opened.

Assistant City Manager Maggie Darr said without a health department, Janesville needs to rely on the national guard for help with testing.

“We don’t have a health department and the city level and we don’t have the testing supplies to give ourselves a testing site.”

Darr also said the National Guard is needed for temporary sites across the state.

“We would love to have more testing given the way the state and our regional area is going, but it’s not our decision,” Darr said.

Bieck wants to see a more permanent local testing site. “I know a lot of people who have wanted to go get tested, but they’d have to go to Madison or Milwaukee and they just didn’t want to deal with the people or the traffic,” Bieck said.

Darr said nothing was official yet, but Rock County is working to set up a more permanent regional testing site.

More than 90% of all COVID-19 tests in Rock County came back positive on Thursday, but these numbers are skewed by challenges in the county. Rock Co. Public Health says the extraordinarily high rate is in part due to a high case count.

Another reason for the high percent positive rate is that officials are busy handling the impact of positive test results and do not have the time to report negative test results. The statewide reporting system update this weekend is expected to help.

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