TOWN OF ROCK
Drivers waiting to get tested for COVID-19 lined up on Sunny Lane on Wednesday, creating a traffic jam.
The entrance to the public testing site at Blackhawk Technical College’s central campus is from a gravel drive off Sunny Lane.
One motorist said she waited more than a half-hour to get from County G to the turnoff, and she still had to wait for dozens of cars ahead of her leading up to the testing tent in the BTC parking lot.
Members of the Wisconsin National Guard will perform the tests from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, except for Veterans Day and Thanksgiving, through Dec. 10, said BTC spokeswoman Jennifer Thompson.
Sunny Lane had one lane open for passing traffic around noontime as cars lined up from the east and west.
A Rock County sheriff’s deputy was directing traffic at County G and Sunny Lane, and more signs directing traffic were ordered from the county.
The site closed early last Thursday because the National Guard used up its tests, Thompson said.
The Guard had expected to perform 600 tests each week but now is expecting to do 900, she said. On Wednesday, 607 tests were administered, she said.
Thompson said college officials were looking for ways to test staff and students, and when they found out the Guard would do it, they decided to expand the service to the public.
“Judging by the number of people here today, you can tell there is definitely a demand,” Thompson said.
Rock County, as well as the state as a whole, has been experiencing a surge in cases and increases in rates of positive tests.
Mike Swartz, a BTC security officer, said the surge in people wanting to be tested could be exacerbated by the onset of cold and flu symptoms, which are also some of the symptoms of COVID-19.
Testing could be extended beyond Dec. 10 if there’s a need, Thompson said.
Capt. Mark Thompson of the sheriff’s office asked that in the future, people approach the turnoff from the west, accessing Sunny Lane from Highway 51, not County G.
Rob Balsamo, BTC’s coordinator of fire and EMS programs, who is coordinating the test site, said a few cars were waiting for tests at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, 2½ hours before the site opened.
People can register in advance by clicking on a button on the main page of Blackhawk Tech’s website, blackhawk.edu. They can also fill out a form at the test site.