Coronavirus Chicago: Mayor Lori Lightfoot, actor Sean Penn tour new Chicago COVID-19 testing site

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot was joined by actor Sean Penn for a tour of one of Chicago's COVID-19 testing facilities.

Penn is a co-founder of the community group CORE, which has partnered with the city to set up testing sites.

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Both actor Sean Penn and world-renowned Spanish chef Jose Andres have organizations that are partnering together to expand testing around the country, including here in Chicago.

"Right now our lane is testing and tracing," Penn said. "Testing and tracing doesn't do much if you have to quarantine someone who is in a food desert without financial assistance enough to take care of their families."

WATCH: Mayor LIghtfoot, Sean Penn speak about COVID-19 testing sites
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Mayor Lori Lightfoot was joined by actor Sean Penn for a tour of one of Chicago's COVID-19 testing facilities.


Penn is partnering with Chef Andrés' organization World Central Kitchen to help feed residents in neighborhoods with a high number of cases, specifically black and brown communities. Lightfoot emphasized the testing sites are free of charge, regardless of your citizenship.

"I do not want any residents in our city to feel that they cannot access the range of healthcare resources because of their citizenship," Lightfoot said. "Please, please come out of the shadows."

Mayor Lightfoot said increasing testing capacity is key to enter the next phase of reopening, which may include a way for restaurants to open. She acknowledged that if they don't open soon, some will never come back.

"We have to figure out a way to safely get those restaurants back online, safety for the employees, safety for the patrons," Lightfoot said. "That's why we are looking at exploring opportunities to open up our streets because we know that things are safer outside rather than inside."

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But Lightfoot and Penn warned Chicagoans about opening too quickly. Lightfoot said she plans to fine some Chicago churches who violated the social distancing order on Sunday.

The city will open more testing sites in the coming days, including a location at the parking lot for Guaranteed Rate Field, 333 W 35th Street, that will be dedicated to first responders and healthcare workers. Unlike the others, this site will be testing asymptomatic frontline workers.

Additional 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 Saucedo Elementary and Dr. Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy both opened last Friday.

Mayor Lightfoot emphasized that testing at the sites will be free of charge and people can be tested regardless of immigration status.

Meals to those working at the sites will be provided by world-famous chef Jose Andres, founder of the nonprofit World Central Kitchen.

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.
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