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Long wait times for COVID-19 testing continue at Alliant Energy Center

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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.

MADISON (WKOW) -- Hundreds of cars lined up waiting for COVID-19 testing at the Alliant Energy Center on Thursday.

"Last time, I came here we cruised right through," said one man waiting in line. That would not be the case for him this time around.

In addition to the high demand the site sees every day, a technical issue with the state's registration system caused significant delays this week.

"It speeds the flow of information, it shortens lines at community testing sites because it's all stuff you can do before you queue up," said Secretary-designee Andrea Palm of Wisconsin's Department of Health Services.

Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) officials say the registration system is working better now. Palm says it is a "top priority" to figure out what caused the failure.

Computer problems or not, the cars were backed up in lines with wait times ranging from an hour and a half to two hours long.

A change in testing hours at the site could be another reason for the long lines. In recent weeks, the Wisconsin National Guard pulled staffing from testing sites. Sites had to shorten their hours: now, Alliant is closed Mondays, and testing starts at noon.

In order to manage demand, public health officials say employers should not require their employees to test negative before returning to work.

"People with COVID-19 may have positive test results for weeks," said Janel Heinrich, Director of PHMDC. "Requiring a negative test puts unnecessary strain on the employee."

Consequently, testing sites like Alliant Energy Center feel that strain, too.

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Jessica Viti

Intern, WKOW TV

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