Coronavirus Chicago: 6 new COVID-19 test sites to open this month, Lightfoot says

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Six new COVID-19 testing sites will be opening across Chicago this month, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Tuesday.

One site at Guaranteed Rate Field, 333 W 35th St., will be dedicated to first responders and healthcare workers.

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The other five testing sites will be located at:

-Saucedo Elementary School, 2850 West 24th BLVD.;
-Dr. Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy, 2331 N Central Ave.;
-Kennedy-King College, 6301 South Halsted St.;

-Gately Park, 744 E. 103rd St.;
-Senka Park, 5656 South St. Louis Avenue.

The testing sites at Guaranteed Rate Field, Saucedo Elementary School and Dr. Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy will open this week with the rest opening by the end of the month.

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Those eligible to be tested are asymptomatic people who are first responders or healthcare workers exposed to confirmed case of COVID-19 as well as those identified by contact tracers. Those showing symptoms of COVID-19 are eligible to be tested.

"These new sites represent a major step in our city's fight against COVID-19, not only by identifying cases but also by dramatically improving our knowledge of this virus and its movement across our communities, all of which will halt the spread of this disease, support our efforts to reopen our businesses and recover from this crisis," Mayor Lightfoot said.

The mayor said the city is currently testing about 3,000 people a day, but she hopes to increase that to 4,500 people a day by the end of the month.

The city also said the testing will be more efficient than current nasal swabs; these will be self-administered by a swab in the mouth.

The city hopes the sites will eventually allow them to test 10,000 people a day, which the mayor said will help speed up the effort to reopen the city.

The new testing sites are being established with help from Community Organized Relief Efforts or CORE, after Rev. Jesse Jackson reached out to the actor Sean Penn, who leads the group.

The new testing sites are expected to expand the city's testing capacity to 10,000 per-day.

"Testing remains one of the most powerful mechanisms for us to understand the complexities of COVID-19 and its spread in the community," said Dr. Arwady. "This creative solution will allow the City to increase testing capacity without putting additional stress on resources that are in limited demand, while allowing Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) to also increase efforts so we can reach a critical mass of tests."

The announcement comes after Mayor Lightfoot announced plans last week on how Chicago will reopen when COVID-19 cases decline.

The five-phase plan is similar in framework to Governor JB Pritzker's Restore Illinois plan, with the city currently in the second phase.
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