Wisconsin National Guard COVID test sites affected by Microsoft outage

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Members of the Wisconsin National Guard assist people at a COVID-19 testing facility at UMOS, 2701 S. Chase Ave. in Milwaukee. (Photo: MIKE DE SISTI / MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL)

A website for Wisconsinites to sign up for free coronavirus testing by Wisconsin National Guard teams went offline Monday evening.

Most people waiting in line at five testing sites in the state when the website went down were still tested.

The website — covidconnect.wi.gov — allows people to register for testing in advance with their personal information and gives them a QR code to scan at a testing site. They also get an email with their test results rather than a phone call.

Wisconsin National Guard spokesman Maj. Joseph Trovato said the website outage is likely linked to a much larger Microsoft outage affecting many different web platforms on Monday.

The Wisconsin National Guard’s coronavirus testing task force started experiencing issues with the website around 3 p.m. It affected people waiting to get tested at two sites in Milwaukee: UMOS on the city’s south side and Barack Obama School of Career and Technical Education on the north side.

Also affected were test sites at the Waukesha County Expo, University of Wisconsin-Platteville and La Crosse, which is experiencing the nation’s second-highest rate of coronavirus infection by population. A few of the sites closed a little earlier than scheduled.

Trovato said he doesn’t know if anyone was turned away but said people waiting in line at those sites should still have been tested, with their contact information taken manually.

One man said he was in line at 4:30 p.m. at Obama School and did not get tested before National Guard officials told everyone around 5:40 p.m. to go home.

The Wisconsin National Guard testing teams are preparing to run testing sites manually on Tuesday if needed. Guardsmen have collected more than half a million coronavirus testing samples in the state and also operate a calling center providing results.

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