UW-Madison added another rapid antigen testing facility at the Kohl Center Wednesday for surge testing available to students and employees.
These rapid antigen tests, created by Abbott BinaxNOW, process results in as short as 15 minutes after collection.
To confirm a positive result from these rapid tests, participants are recommended to take a PCR test through UHS, also available at the Kohl Center. Since PCR test results can take a few days, tested individuals should isolate while waiting for their results.
PCR test results are posted to students’ MyUHS accounts.
The BinaxNOW tests are part of initiatives by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced last week which allocated around 250,000 rapid antigen tests to the 13 UW-System schools to be distributed to not just students and faculty, but also area residents outside of individuals affiliated with their respective universities.
While the university’s first rapid testing site at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium is open to all Madison area residents over 5 years of age, the Kohl Center site is only for UW students and employees.
HHS allocated 80,000 of these tests specifically to these two UW-Madison testing sites to be used through December.
HHS distributed these tests amid the recent rise in cases statewide, as the Wisconsin Department of Health Services recently created a new category of severity: “critically high,” which signifies greater than 1,000 cases per 100,000 residents in a specific county. Of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, 65 fall under this category of COVID-19 severity as of Nov. 17.
In a Nov. 11 press release, Chancellor Rebecca Blank stressed the importance of testing to stop the spread of the virus.
“We have the opportunity to offer expanded testing to the general Madison community in our facilities,” Blank said. “Testing is only one part of the solution to slow the spread of this virus; we also need to follow all the health protocols of masking and social distancing. But expanded testing is an important way to identify those who are ill and limit spread.”
Students and faculty members can access appointments online for Kohl Center testing and any community member ages five years and older can access free testing at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium by appointment.