Community COVID-19 testing sites shut down

APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) – Appleton closed its community COVID-19 testing site on Kensington Drive. Friday was its last day of service after almost two years of testing.

The Appleton Health Department cited a “drastic decrease in testing demand” led them to close up shop at the old Office Max building.

Despite a recent rise in local COVID numbers, the City of Appleton says demand for COVID testing sites has gone down and the Kensington Dr. site is no longer needed.

Brown County also announced a community test site closure Friday. That site at the Brown County fairgrounds will close Saturday, April 30. County leaders said they feel “confident that the existing COVID-19 testing resources provided by health care and community partners will be adequate” to meet testing needs.

Doctors say over the past few weeks a lot of testing sites have closed because fewer people are using them.

“It’s happening in lots of states and throughout Wisconsin,” Dr. Dan Shirley, medical director for infection prevention at U.W.-Health, said.

“It’s not just all that people are testing less. It’s more that they’re probably testing at home,” he added.

Still though, Dr. Shirley doesn’t know if eliminating testing sites is the right decision.

“specially as cases start to rise, certainly we shouldn’t make it harder for people to get a test and do the right thing,” he said. “We know that from lots of things, not just COVID, that if you make it hard for people to do the right thing, then they won’t do that.”

With less masking and fewer restrictions nationwide, Shirley says a future surge is possible, and he’s curious to see what cities will do if a surge does happen.

“When cases are low, we can shut some of this down. And then if we see a signal that things are going back up, then we make it easy for people to get tested. That would be the best way to go about it.”

There are still a handful of free testing sites in Brown and Outagamie counties if home testing is not for you.

Shirley recommends visiting for more information on where testing sites are available.

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