UWM Expands COVID-19 Testing To All Employees, Community

UWM Expands COVID-19 Testing To All Employees, Community

UWM will join other UW System campuses in serving as a location for a federal “surge testing” effort aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in areas where there have been recent spikes.

The six-week program done in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will use Abbott BinaxNOW antigen tests that provide results in about 15 minutes. Confirmatory PCR tests provided by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services will be given to anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms but tests negative, and anyone who doesn’t have symptoms but tests positive.

Antigen tests, which are relatively fast and inexpensive, look for proteins from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. PCR tests, which are more accurate but may take longer to process, look for genetic material from that virus.

UWM will have three BinaxNOW testing sites:

  • Wisconsin Room of the UWM Student Union in Milwaukee
  • UWM at Waukesha Field House
  • UWM at Washington County gymnasium

The free tests will be offered at the UWM at Waukesha and UWM at Washington County on Nov. 18, 19 and 25 and Dec. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 18. There will be no testing at the Milwaukee campus on those dates. Details on hours will be provided on UWM’s coronavirus website. Participants must register in advance at the link below.

UWM employees, community members age 5 and older and students at the UWM at Waukesha and UWM at Washington County campuses will be tested through the BinaxNow program, which starts Nov. 11 and runs through Dec. 18.

Students on the main campus in Milwaukee should continue to be tested through the existing antigen testing program in the UWM Student Union Ballroom, with confirmatory PCR tests done at Norris Health Center.

Surge testing participants must register for a BinaxNow test. They will go to the testing site, administer the test under the supervision of medical professionals from federal contractor eTrueNorth and wait for their results. They will need a smartphone to retrieve their results by logging into the same website. If they need a confirmatory PCR test, it will be done immediately at the same location, with results available in about four days.

Testing is not mandatory for UWM employees or students living off campus, but is highly encouraged. Individuals can be tested multiple times at no cost. UWM will receive notice of employees and students who test positive, and those results will be added to the campus dashboard. UWM will not receive notice of community members who test positive

Story posted Nov. 4, 2020