Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

National Guard to assist with Ashland testing site Thursday

ASHLAND, Wis. — Members of the Wisconsin National Guard will be on hand in Ashland Thursday to help with a community COVID-19 specimen collection event.

Ashland County Public Health and the Bad River Band of Lake Superior are hosting the event for western Wisconsin residents that is scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday. The event will be held at the Lake Superior Elementary School driveway at 1101 Binsfield Road. Organizers are asking people to approach the school via Binsfield Road by entering from Wisconsin 13, the entrance will be on the east side of the driveway and traffic will exit the site by traveling west toward Beaser Avenue.

Anyone 5-years-old and older with symptoms including: a fever greater than 100.4, cough, sore throat, chills, loss of taste, fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath, headaches, muscle aches, loss of smell, vomiting or diarrhea are eligible for testing at the site.

The event is open to all members of the community in Ashland, Bayfield and Iron counties, as well as the Bad River and Red Cliff tribes. People must be a resident of Wisconsin or work in Wisconsin to be eligible for testing.

“We have two goals for this event. 1. Providing our communities with mass testing, allowing local health care providers more time to increase their testing capacity. 2. This event will give public health better insight into how much COVID-19 is in our communities. Following this event, we will continue to work closely with our local health care providers to continue building their capacity to meet patient demand,” organizers said.

“If we get positive cases through this event, we will be able to isolate those people and trace their contacts to stop further spread in our communities. If there aren’t many positive cases as a result of this event, we can use that data to explore reopening activities. A lack of positive cases as a result of this event doesn’t mean we’re in the clear — it means we are doing a great job of limiting contacts and need to keep social distancing,” Ashland County Health Officer Elizabeth Szot and Pam Feustel, the public health nurse with Bad River Health and Wellness, said in the announcement of the event.

Additional testing in western Wisconsin is also planned in the coming weeks, according to organizers.

After people are tested at the event, organizers said they should return home and isolate themselves until their symptoms end.

“This means do not go to work or out in the community,” organizers said. “Separate yourself from other people in your home to the best of your ability.”

Organizers said they will contact individuals with results once they become available.