MADISON— University of Wisconsin System campuses, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will serve as the first “surge testing” sites for a new rapid-results COVID-19 test available to members of the community, UW System President Tommy Thompson announced this week.

The 250,000 Abbot BinaxNOW tests, which provide a result within 15 minutes, amplify the system’s testing program for students and will assist in identifying people who may have the novel coronavirus.

“Our universities are perfectly positioned to help Wisconsin combat the spread of COVID-19,” Thompson said in a news release. “This is the Wisconsin Idea in action, and a recognition of our existing work to keep our students, faculty and staff as safe as possible during the pandemic.

HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir, M.D., said the intent of surge testing efforts is to help local, state and federal public health experts identify new cases.

“Testing is a critical component in our battle against COVID-19,” said Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams in the release. “Not everyone develops symptoms, so someone could be spreading the virus without knowing it. If you or your loved ones are worried you may have come into contact with COVID-19, please make an appointment to get tested. It’s easy and most importantly – free! Please also continue to do your part to stop the spread of COVID-19 by following the three Ws: wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance. We owe this to our community and our friends and family members to protect them.”

Testing sites will begin to open as early as this week.

People who want to be tested register online, proceed to the testing site, administer the test themselves under supervision, and label it for processing.

Register for a test at Participants will also retrieve results by logging into this portal after receiving an email that informs them that their results are ready.