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Officials work to reduce long lines at Madison’s COVID-19 testing site

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The wait for COVID-19 tests on Monday extended beyond three hours at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.
Matt Anderson/WKOW
The wait for COVID-19 tests on Monday extended beyond three hours at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.
Cars line up Tuesday for COVID-19 testing at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.
WKOW photo
Cars line up Tuesday for COVID-19 testing at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

MADISON (WKOW) -- People in Madison are showing up in record numbers to get tested for the coronavirus.

When testing first started at Alliant Energy Center, about 500 people were coming through every day. Public health officials say on Monday, 2,182 tests were done, which comes out to 272 tests per hour or one test every 13 seconds.

At times, people are waiting hours to get through the lines, which has been a surprise.

"It's a little shocking. I didn't expect there to be this many people," said Diane Byler, who was waiting to get tested about noon Tuesday. "I thought I'd just drive up and drive through."

National Guard officials say they've added an additional lane of testing to speed up wait times, along with a sixth lane for walkups. They've rearranged staffing to try to get people through faster, too.

Public Health Madison-Dane County also is considering a pilot program to allow people to preregister online.

"That would take out that initial step of having to fill out some of the paperwork and things and then you just show up, they'd have you preregistered and you can go right in," said Capt. Joe Trovato, public affairs deputy director with the Wisconsin National Guard. "It's still kind of in a pilot phase and not in use just yet but that is, you know, another improvement that they're trying to make to try to streamline that process as much as possible."

The testing site is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It's open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. It will be closed on July 4.

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Jennifer Kliese

Weekend Anchor and Reporter, 27 News

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