In the earliest days of the coronavirus pandemic, a shortage of testing supplies and staff at laboratories left Wisconsin and other states struggling to quickly identify infections and isolate contagious people. Four months after Gov. Tony Evers declared the outbreak a public health emergency, the state has dramatically expanded its testing capacity. But experts say too few Wisconsinites are showing up — potentially thwarting efforts to neutralize a virus that killed at least 831 people in the state as of Thursday.
Wisconsin has 83 labs that can perform more than 24,000 total tests each day, according to data that public, private and commercial labs voluntarily report to the state Department of Health Services. That’s about 7-times the capacity reported on April 1. Twenty-four additional labs are “planning to test.”