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Health Department hopes National Gaurd testing brings clarity to Covid-19 situation

Kaitlyn Riley

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When Captain Christina Baurichter joined the National Guard 20 years ago, she never imagined part of her duties would include managing testing sites during a global pandemic.

On Thursday, Baurichter and 28 members of the Wisconsin National Guard set up a Covid-19 testing site at the Omni Center in Onalaska with the La Crosse County Health Department and City of Onalaska.

Wisconsin National Guard Captain Christina Baurichter

“It is great to be part of the good will mission and being able to help the community and help the state of Wisconsin open back up,” Baurichter said.

The event was set to handle up to 400 free tests for anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 who were 5-years-old and older.

“Mass testing is one of those things that is going to be really beneficial for our community to identify how many people actually have Covid-19,” Rachel King, public health educator with the La Crosse County Health Department said. “There haven’t been as many tests as we’ve needed to see. We have some great healthcare systems that have been amping up their testing as well, but this was just one extra way that we can get as many tests done as possible.”

King said on average, the county sees 70 tests per day.

Funded on the federal level, results from the nasal swabs were expected within 48 hours. Those with negative tests would receive a call from the Wisconsin National Guard, whereas those who tested positive would be contacted by the health department.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.

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