UW System Extends COVID-19 Surge Testing to Mid-January

Published: December 29, 2020
By: UW-Parkside Marketing and Communications

MADISON, Wis.— University of Wisconsin System President Tommy Thompson announced today that the UW System’s COVID-19 “surge testing” sites will extend operations until mid-January.

Free rapid-response COVID-19 testing is being made available to community members as well as students and employees at sites across Wisconsin located on or near UW System university campuses. The sites have now administered over 166,000 Abbott BinaxNOW tests since opening in early November.

Originally, System officials estimated the sites would operate for about six weeks, or through mid-December, and that was later extended until at least Christmas. Now, thanks to added support from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, surge testing will continue until mid-January. Days and hours vary by individual site.

“The UW System is happy to put the Wisconsin Idea into action and provide this resource to the people of Wisconsin,” Regent President Andrew S. Petersen said. “It is a credit to the leadership from System and on our campuses that these testing sites have operated successfully and will now continue to help more Wisconsinites.”

The UW System surge testing sites are the first in the country to use the new Abbott BinaxNOW tests. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has provided 250,000 of the tests, and staffing support is available through eTrueNorth.

Persons who want to receive a rapid-results test – available in about 15 minutes – should register at www.doineedacovid19test.com or call 1-800-653-8611. Those who test positive through the rapid-results test are urged to get a confirmatory PCR test.

Individuals do not have to be experiencing symptoms or be a close contact of someone with COVID-19 to get a test, nor do they need to live in the community where the testing site is located.

Individuals seeking to be tested will register online, proceed to the testing site, administer the test themselves under supervision, and label it for processing.

“Frequent testing is critical to minimizing the spread of COVID-19,” said President Thompson. “With this extension, the UW System will continue to ensure that anyone who wants a test, can get a test.” 


The University of Wisconsin System serves approximately 165,000 students. Awarding nearly 37,000 degrees annually, the UW System is Wisconsin’s talent pipeline, putting graduates in position to increase their earning power, contribute to their communities, and make Wisconsin a better place to live. Nearly 90 percent of in-state UW System graduates stay in Wisconsin five years after earning a degree. The UW System provides a 23:1 return on state investment. UW System institutions also contribute to the richness of Wisconsin’s culture and economy with groundbreaking research, new companies and patents, and boundless creative intellectual energy.



Mark Pitsch, UW System





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