(The Center Square) – Wisconsin has the capacity to test more than 11,000 people a day.

However, nowhere near that number is getting tested.

Gov. Tony Evers wants to change that. 

“Our goal is to ensure that we are one of the top states in actual testing per capita,” Evers told reporters Monday. “Testing capacity is not the same as utilization. We have some work to do to ensure that everyone who needs a test is getting one.”

To make that happen, Evers is ordering more coronavirus testing in nursing homes, long term care facilities, jails, and workplaces in virus hot sports like Brown County. 

He is also ordering more National Guard teams into the field. 

Evers’ administration is also expanding the definition of who needs a test.

“The goal for right now is to test people who are symptomatic with any symptom that could be suggestive of COVID-19,” Department of Health Services Dr. Ryan Westergaard said.

Those symptoms include a fever higher than 104 degrees, cough, shortness of breath, a sore throat, a headache or the new or recent loss of taste or smell.

The focus on this next round of Badger Bounce Back testing will be on the rest of Wisconsin. 

“Making progress on Badger Bounce Back makes it possible to see a more complete picture of the coronavirus in Wisconsin,” DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm said Monday. “We have significant portions of the state that are testing at a rate that is well below what would allow us to understand what the spread of the spread of the disease is. And that includes many of the rural counties in the state.”

Most of the state’s coronavirus cases are in Milwaukee, Dane, and Brown counties. There’s also a large number of cases in the Milwaukee suburbs. But central, northern and western Wisconsin have seen relatively few cases. 

Palm said Monday that doctors confirmed 217 new coronavirus cases. That brings the total since mid-March to 8,236 positive cases. Another 80,467 have tested negative for the virus. Wisconsin’s coronavirus positive-test-rate continues to hover near 10 percent. Palm said Wisconsin’s coronavirus death toll has hit 340. Another 3,973 people have fully recovered from the virus.

Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square. Reposted with permission.

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