A total of 420 COVID-19 test kits were used during the free community drive-thru event held on the Vernon County Fairgrounds in Viroqua, Tuesday.
The Wisconsin National Guard and the Vernon County Health Department and Emergency Management hosted the testing event, which was open to people age 5 and older with and without symptoms of COVID-19. When the testing event was first announced, it was only for those experiencing one or more symptoms of COVID-19.
Linda Nederlo, public information officer for the county, said 400 tests were planned for, and they were authorized to use extra test kits if needed. An additional community testing event is pending. “They discussed it last night,” Nederlo said in an interview Wednesday morning. She said it depends on the National Guard to get the authorization for another test date.
Nederlo said the event went well, except for the thunderstorm that passed through the area at about 3:40 p.m., which caused a shutdown until 4:30 p.m. “It blew really hard out there and rained hard,” she said.
Nederlo said that during the storm some people turned around and returned later for testing. Those who were already in line waited in their vehicles. County Health Department staff and the National Guard members went to the Vernon Memorial Healthcare Expo Center on the fairgrounds until the storm passed. “We had about a 15- to 20-minute warning before the storm hit,” she said.
About 20 National Guard members helped with the testing, which wrapped up around 6:05 p.m. “The National Guard was so gracious and wonderful to have around,” Nederlo said.
Health Department staff and the Guard staff were all wearing layers of protection during the testing, and Nederlo said it got warm for them. According the National Weather Service, Viroqua’s high was 93 degrees Tuesday.
Nederlo said there was an hour- to two-hour wait during the time when the most people were at the fairgrounds for testing.
Test results will be available within 24 to 72 hours after the event. Vernon County Health Department staff will follow up on results of all testing.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can be mild and include:
- New loss of taste and/or smell;
- Shortness of breath;
- Abdominal pain;
- Muscle aches/pain;
- Sore throat;
- Runny nose.
If anyone develops symptoms, even mild, the Vernon County Health Department advises people to contact their health-care provider for testing.
Angela Cina can be reached at email@example.com.
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