MADISON — The University of Wisconsin System COVID-19 surge testing sites will operate at least until Christmas, System President Tommy Thompson announced this week.

The 22 sites across Wisconsin located on or near UW System university campuses provide free rapid-response COVID-19 testing available to community members, as well as students and employees. Since opening in early November, the sites have now administered about 100,000 tests.

Originally, System officials estimated the sites would operate for about six weeks, or through mid-December. Thanks to added support from the United States Department of Health and Human Services to meet the demand, surge testing will continue up until at least Christmas. Days and hours vary by individual site.

People who want to receive a rapid-results test – available in about 15 minutes – should register at Those who test positive through the rapid-results test are urged to get a confirmatory PCR test.

People do not have to be experiencing symptoms or be a close contact of someone with COVID-19 to get a test, nor do they need to live in the community where the testing site is located.