EAU CLAIRE — Karla Lien waited in her car in line Saturday for her turn to take a COVID-19 test at Eau Claire Memorial High School. The antigen tests only take about 20 minutes for results.
Lien, 39, teaches English-learning classes to students K-5 in the Eau Claire school district. This was her second time getting tested for the disease.
“I’m in the schools every day, with kids,” Lien said as she waited her turn. “And there are so many unknowns.”
Lien also has children ages 3 and 6 at home.
“With those ages, they could be bringing it home and not knowing it,” Lien said. “So, whatever measures we can take, we need to do it to be safe.”
Lien was pleased the free, drive-thru testing event was set up at the high school.
“I’m just thankful this is an option,” she said.
Grace Crickette, UW-Eau Claire vice chancellor of finance and administration, was helping direct the traffic and collect sign-up forms. Crickette said they had 260 of the self-administered antigen tests on hand. Anyone who tested positive was directed to take the PCR tests to verify they are COVID-19 positive.
“It’s important to look at a variety of ways to look at testing, and look at the efficacy of the test,” Crickette said. “And we need to look at different ways of combating this disease. One of the benefits (of the antigen tests) is you get the results within 15 minutes.”
Crickette was thankful for so many volunteers on hand, helping direct the line of vehicles.
“Everyone here is getting a lot of guidance,” she said.
Cindy Lene, 47, was getting tested for the first time. She hasn’t been sick, and like many people, she has been working from home.
“You just have to know,” Lene said. “You need to stop the spread.”
Lene liked that the quick antigen tests, and the PCR tests, which can take several hours for results, were both available.
“I feel like we should be doing both tests,” Lene said. “I’ve known people who had it and didn’t know it.”
Maria Swalve, 36, was just tested Tuesday, but she wanted another. Her husband recently tested positive. They have three children, ages 2, 11 and 12; at this time, none of them have been tested. Swalve said her husband realized he was sick when he lost his sense of smell.
“We’ve been in contact with the same people, and it’s so odd he tested positive and I’m not,” Swalve said. “It’s spreading so much in our community, and we just don’t know (who has it.)”
Derek Lindholm, 38, was getting tested for the first time. He hasn’t felt sick.
“With the holidays coming up, we wanted to be safe around older parents,” Lindholm said. “And it’s a great opportunity because it’s a free event.”
Andy Arbeten, 30, was tested last month but felt it was important to get another.
“Last week, we had five cases at work, so I figured it was good to get tested,” Arbeten said.
Arbeten added that the drive-thru events is an ideal way for people to get tested.
“It’s a lot easier than having to get an actual appointment,” he said.
Julie Collins, 64, was getting her first test.
“I went to a funeral (Nov. 5) and there were some people there that got sick,” Collins explained. “My parents were there and both tested positive.”
Collins said it was an outdoor funeral and she kept her mask on the whole time. While she hasn’t felt sick at all, she felt it was a good idea to get tested.
“This was handy for us,” she said.