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COVID-19 testing at Alliant Energy Center could wind down in August without more federal support

COVID-19 testing at Alliant Energy Center could wind down in August without more federal support

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COVID 19 testing site

Motorists lined up at the Alliant Energy Center for the first day of free community testing for COVID-19. 

Testing for COVID-19 at the Alliant Energy Center may soon end without renewed funding from the federal government or state.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi on Thursday said funding for the Wisconsin National Guard to maintain its Dane County testing center is only committed through Aug. 7.

Without renewed funding, the testing center may need to shut down at a time the county and state are continuing to address the spread of the virus.

“I’m deeply concerned unless the state and federal governments act decisively and quickly, testing at the Alliant Energy Center will start winding down next week,” Parisi said in a statement. “This occurring at the same time Wisconsin is adding between 800 and 1000 new cases a day would dramatically hamper efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. It’s critical communities like ours are allowed to continue mass testing; especially as schools and universities look to begin to re-open.”

Gov. Tony Evers’ chief legal counsel, Ryan Nilsestuen, said last week the governor’s office had reached out to the White House to request that Trump once again extend a National Guard order authorizing domestic coronavirus response missions in states like Wisconsin.

Trump earlier this year extended domestic activities by the National Guard to mid-August, but Nilsestuen said many states, including Wisconsin, have asked to extend that mission through the end of the year.

“We’re hoping that we get an answer any day now,” Nilsestuen said. “This is something that Wisconsin cannot do just on its own and we need strong federal support and we’re hoping that the White House stands up.”

Members of the Wisconsin National Guard have conducted more than 250,000 COVID-19 tests across the state and continue to assist with community testing sites and other roles.

If the mission is not extended, Nilsestuen said the state would explore options of funding an extension of the Wisconsin Guard’s mission.

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