Dane Co. launches COVID-19 testing program for first responders

MADISON, Wis. — Dane County officials announced Tuesday a plan to purchase and distribute COVID-19 test kits to first responders throughout the county.

The tests will be made available for police, fire and emergency medical service departments who are working to provide 911 response in the area. Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said the tests are being made available to give first responders a sense of reassurance after potential exposure to the coronavirus.

“Our first responders are called into precarious, uncertain situations every day and COVID-19 adds an entirely new dynamic to that daily risk,” Parisi said. “Being able to closely monitor those at a higher risk not only offers peace of mind for our responders and their loved ones but also those they’re asked to care for.”

Dane County’s Department of Emergency Management will purchase and administer the kits, which will then be distributed by medical personnel that are already partnered with the various public safety agencies throughout the county.

Positive test results will be reported to the Department of Public Health to reduce the risk of unintended community spread by responders.

County leaders said they plan to initially secure 3,500 tests and may purchase more based on the future spread of the virus. Tests will be purchased from Exact Sciences, a Madison-based company, according to a news release.