The National Guard set up a community testing site in Burlington, but not yet in Racine.
As confirmed coronavirus cases within the City of Racine shoot toward 500, Mayor Cory Mason pleaded for community testing in a Monday interview with WISN-TV in Milwaukee.
“We need it yesterday,” he told the station.
There were 761 confirmed cases and 163 probable ones in the county of 200,000 as of Monday, according to the city Health Department. Just 267 of those came from outside of the city’s jurisdiction, which also covers two tiny suburban villages with populations under 2,000.
Yet the National Guard, which has been establishing community testing sites throughout the state, came to Burlington — on the opposite end of Racine County from the City of Racine — this week to perform testing.
“I couldn’t tell you why it’s in Burlington,” Mason said. “I just know that it’s not here yet today and we need it.”
There are an unknown number of cases at the Echo Lake Foods facility in Burlington, which has a population of about 11,000. Cases in Racine’s jurisdiction, where there are about 80,000 residents, sat at 494 on Monday.
“We’ve got to get ahead of it,” Mason said.
Mark Schaaf, Racine County’s communications director, told the Racine Journal Times there will be community testing within the city soon. He said “we’re planning to increase testing all over the county.”
Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling made waves last month when he announced he would no longer enforce the state’s stay-home order, despite the clear health risks associated with not doing so. Mason did not mince words when WISN asked if the sheriff’s refusal to enforce the order had an affect on the case growth.
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’re also in a community that’s seeing the number of cases spike,” Mason said.
In Brown County, which saw a sharp uptick in growth over the past month fueled by massive outbreaks in meatpacking plants, the Guard has two community testing sites in Green Bay. County Executive Troy Streckenbach announced Tuesday that every resident will now be able to get a free test through May 22, even if they are asymptomatic.
“It’s unfortunate we had to have an outbreak to get the testing,” Streckenbach said.