Covid Testing

The National Guard assisted in the free COVID-19 testing at the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds in Chippewa Falls on July 20. Another drive-through event will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 16, with 500 tests available. View more photos at LeaderTelegramPhotos.com.

CHIPPEWA FALLS — A second drive-through COVID-19 testing event has been set for Wednesday, Sept. 16, at the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds in Chippewa Falls.

Chippewa County public health director Angela Weideman announced the details of the testing event at her weekly coronavirus update meeting Wednesday morning.

“I am extremely happy we are able to get these tests,” Weideman said. “It will be wonderful for all the communities around Chippewa Falls.”

The National Guard will be running the event, which will be held 11 a.m. through 7 pm. Weideman said 500 tests will be given, but she added that the guard has the capacity to perform 750 tests.

“If we found ourselves in a situation where we were going through them quickly, we could request more,” she said.

The first drive-through test in the county was held July 20, where 434 people were tested, resulting in seven positive COVID-19 cases identified.

Weideman said the same guidelines will be in place: anyone ages five and older can get tested if they are a Wisconsin resident, and people do not need to be showing any symptoms. There also will be an online signup form to help speed up the flow of traffic.

In the past week, Chippewa County saw 38 new COVID-19 cases, down slightly from 40 last week. However, the number of tests given plunged to 447, down 114 from last week’s 561 tests. That resulted in a new one-week high of a n 8.5% positivity rate. Weideman said previously that the goal is to have 900 tests conducted weekly.

“We haven’t seen (tests given) numbers this low since June,” she said.

Weideman didn’t want to speculate on why the number of tests given has fallen, but she hasn’t heard of any problems with medical centers being able to obtain equipment to perform tests. The free drive through testing event should help boost those numbers.

Since schools began, Weideman said that have been four positive tests of students or school staff from around the county.

Weideman said she’s pleased to see most county residents are continuing to wear masks, saying she understands there is “COVID fatigue” and people want to resume their lives. She said there is talk at the state level about extending the mask mandate, which is sect to expire Sept. 28. She encouraged people to keep wearing masks, saying she is confident that the number of COVID-19 cases would be higher if there wasn’t a policy in place.

“These measures are in place so we can stay open,” she said.

Chippewa County has just one person currently hospitalized with COVID-19. There haven’t been any deaths in the county related to the disease.