MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Long lines greeted people looking to get a coronavirus test at the Alliant Center Tuesday as organizers dealt with new hours, more demand, and a big change in staffing.
“I think it’s smart for us to get tested as much as we can,” Kristin Fordy said as she waited for a test. “It actually makes me feel better knowing there is this large number of people getting tested.”
At one point the sign that displayed the projected wait times warned those arriving Tuesday afternoon they would be there for three hours before getting tested.
“It’s not too surprising,” Robert Gradel, Middleton resident said.
Both the front parking lot and the one behind the coliseum were nearly filled and traffic was backed up along Rimrock Rd. and John Nolan Dr.
People waited for hours to get tested for COVID-19 at the Alliant Center, on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020.(WMTV)
Public health officials blamed the longer lines on the recent surge of positive cases in the community driving more people to want tests and recent changes that meant the Alliant Center’s testing facility would be closed on Sundays and Mondays.
In announcing the reduced hours, Public Health Madison & Dane County also noted that the National Guard, which had filled a majority of the shifts, would be pulling out, leaving the agency left to pick up the slack. However, NBC15 reached out to public health officials to ask if the National Guard staffing was the reason for the long lines, public health officials said no. They explained the National Guard is still conducting 100 percent of tests and training their replacements.
Free flu shots
Health officials also started providing free drive-through flu shots at the Alliant Center on Tuesday. Children and adults who live in Dane Co. and don’t have health insurance and kids using BadgerCare or Medicaid are eligible to get the shots.
PHMDC recommends anyone older than six months get a flu shot this year, noting that getting the flu can mean missing a week or more of school or work and make someone more susceptible to COVID-19 and other illnesses.
The agency did note that someone is not allowed to get the flu shot and a COVID-19 test on the same day.
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