Drive-thru testing opens in Chippewa Falls
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Drive-thru testing opens in Chippewa Falls

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The first drive-thru COVID-19 testing site is now open in Chippewa County.

Prevea Chippewa Falls Health Center opened the drive-thru site Tuesday outside its clinic at 2509 Highway I, said Chippewa County public health director Angela Weideman.

“People are definitely taking advantage of the testing,” Weideman said Wednesday morning at a press conference, where she updated the COVID-19 cases in the county.

Weideman said people need to call ahead before using the drive-thru testing site. She said other medical clinics in the county also are doing COVID-19 testing. So far, she has found that everyone who has wanted a test has been able to get one. She didn’t know the cost for residents who are getting tests.

Chippewa County still has just one local person who has tested positive for the virus, she added; the state’s Department of Health Services’ website on Tuesday inaccurately stated a second case had been confirmed.

“There was a data entry error that is being cleaned up,” Weideman said.

The one confirmed case is a person described as being under the age of 30. The individual had traveled recently to an area where COVID-19 has been in the community. That person remains in isolation and has not needed to be hospitalized, Weideman said.

“We have followed up with all the contacts that person had,” she said.

While Weideman said she won’t release details on the number of ventilators in the county, she added “we do not have a local shortage.” Statewide, there are an estimated 620 ventilators and 2,600 intensive care unit beds, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association.

Weideman said she has noticed the significant drop in vehicles on the road, a good indication that people are staying at home.

“It’s really important for people of all ages to take this seriously,” she said.

Chippewa Falls Police Chief Matt Kelm said his officers will be placing signs up around playground equipment in town as a reminder it is closed.

“Our officers are not randomly pulling drivers over to see where they are going,” Kelm said. “We are not requiring extra documentation saying why they are traveling.”

Kelm is far more concerned about people congregating in large groups; he said his officers will investigate those cases.

Anyone who feels sick and is concerned they have the virus should let EMS and police know so they can prepare and put on protective equipment, he added.

Kelm also cautioned the public to be aware of a variety of scams related to COVID-19, reminding people that there are no in-home testing kits, and no cure or vaccine.

Chippewa Falls schools Superintendent Heidi Taylor-Eliopoulos noted that the district is on spring break. The district will resume its “at-home learning plan” and is obtaining equipment for students who do not have Internet in their home.

Taylor-Eliopoulos reminded the public that free lunches and breakfasts can be picked up for anyone under the age of 18, at any of the district’s nine school buildings, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily.

That resumes next week, when spring break ends. The free meals are available to any minors, and no one is being asked to provide proof of address showing they live in the district.


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