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Wisconsin making progress on COVID-19 testing of nursing home residents

Wisconsin making progress on COVID-19 testing of nursing home residents

Wisconsin is making progress on its goal of testing all nursing home residents and staff during the month of May, a top health official said Tuesday.

Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said that 266 of Wisconsin’s 366 skilled nursing facilities have requested testing supplies from the state.

Many are conducting testing at their own facilities, while others are seeking assistance from the Wisconsin National Guard. The state is providing the tests for free.

“We’re well on our way to achieving that goal,” Willems Van Dijk told reporters.

Willems Van Dijk said they’re also watching the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, describing a “slow creep” across the state.

“Certainly nothing that would put us in a surge situation with hospitals,” she added. “But something we want to keep an eye on.”

She also said that as the state reopens, people will likely have more contacts. She encouraged people “to not go crazy” with seeing everyone they’ve missed.

Willems Van Dijk also said they’re implementing a software program to boost COVID-19 contact tracing efforts.

She said the software will allow those being tested to upload their own information and have that connected directly to the state’s disease surveillance program.

The program will allow for the collection of information electronically, rather than paper records. And it’ll allow users to start thinking about contact tracing earlier so they can start to limit contact with other people as they wait for their test results.

There were 279 additional cases of COVID-19 reported Tuesday, bringing the total to 15,863. There have been 517 deaths, an increase of three from Monday.

Wisconsin Health News is removing the password on all stories related to the coronavirus. For the latest developments follow us on Twitter at @wihealthnews or check out our website. For complete healthcare coverage, sign up for a free trial to our daily email newsletter. 


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