May 17, 2021

Testing still crucial to controlling the COVID-19 pandemic

Madison, Wis. – Vaccines are helping drive down the number of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin, but cases persist, and a primary way to contain the pandemic is testing.

UW Health is reminding the public that testing is easy, free and widely available, and is the most precise way to track COVID-19 cases.

This information is vital for containing the pandemic, according to Dr. Nasia Safdar, medical director, infection control, UW Health.

“Vaccines are effective, but we still have many who are unvaccinated and the virus is still spreading,” she said. “People still get sick with the virus and it’s important to make a diagnosis so appropriate treatment can be used.”

People also need testing to know if they are infected and should stay home and quarantine, Safdar said.

Adults and parents and caregivers of children ages 5 years old and older who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 are encouraged to contact their health care providers to schedule a test. At UW Health this can be done via MyChart. Local health systems are well prepared to handle testing for COVID-19, turn the results around quickly and, if necessary, provide treatment.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher), chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath/chest tightness, loss of taste or smell, runny nose, nasal congestion, headache, severe fatigue/exhaustion and muscle pain.

For those who haven’t been vaccinated, or are not fully vaccinated, testing is necessary if:

  • You’ve been exposed to individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19.

  • You’ve been at an event where individuals have tested positive for COVID-19.

  • You have friends or relatives who have tested positive for COVID-19 or may have been exposed.

  • You have friends or relatives who are at higher risk of complications from COVID-19 and want to make sure you don’t expose them.

  • You have upcoming travel, work or other life events that may require you get tested.

UW Health offers testing by appointment for its patients at 3819 John Wall Drive. The site is open seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and UW Health can test more than 500 patients per day.