New Aurora COVID-19 testing site expects to see hundreds on 2nd day

AURORA, Ill. (WLS) -- New coronavirus testing sites are opening this week on Chicago's Southwest Side and in Aurora and Rockford.

FULL LIST: Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Chicago area

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced the two additional state-run, drive-thru COVID-19 testing facilities were opening in Aurora and Rockford.

"Anyone who has COVID-19-like symptoms, even if they do not have a doctor's order, can get a test at these locations, and this is the criteria that we are encouraging, all across the state to follow as well," Pritzker said.

The Aurora site, located at the Chicago Premium Outlets at 1650 Premium Outlet Blvd, opened Wednesday.

Cars were lining up before dawn on Thursday, and testing began at 8 a.m. Officials expected to administer 600 tests. But those getting tested must administer it to themselves.

"It is a rather simple test to administer, but the point of us being here is to have medically qualified people who literally stand there and give the instructions and observe the person taking the test to make sure that they fulfilled the requirements for the test," U.S. Army Maj. A.J. Ruggieri said.

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New video shows the state-run drive-thru Aurora testing site at the Chicago Premium Outlets that officially opened Wednesday.



Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, who is a COVID-19 survivor, said the testing site was sorely needed.

"I went to the edge and clawed my way back. I experienced things I never thought I would imagine," he said.

The new site was quickly established with the help of the Illinois National Guard. Military leaders said there will be at least 70 guardsmen on site to help assist.

"When the state calls and when our community calls and needs help, we're here," said Brig. Gen. Richard Neely.

State health officials tested dozens on its opening day, but the site will be able to test up to 600 people per day.

"Greater testing capacity is needed so that healthcare workers, first responders and those who continue to be on the job can be tested before they unknowingly spread the virus to others," said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. "Testing is essential to identify those who is infected. More testing will help us end this pandemic sooner."

The site is open to the general public. The symptoms that make you eligible for testing are cough, shortness of breath and fever. Individuals must arrive in a vehicle, and no walk-ups will be permitted.

"Anybody can come through here. You don't need a doctor's referral, you don't have to have insurance, you don't have to bring insurance information, or a doctor's note; if you come through they'll put you through the process and you'll be able to get a test," Ruggieri said.

A fifth state-run testing site in Rockford, at 1601 Parkview Ave., will open Friday. Both locations are open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or until daily supplies run out.

For more information on state-run testing sites, visit coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/testing-sites.

Meanwhile, a new COVID-19 testing site that opened in Little Village Wednesday will treat all residents regardless of immigration status and offer bilingual staff for Spanish speakers.

Howard Brown Health is now accepting patients at its new COVID-19 screening location at Project Vida, 2659 S. Kedvale Ave, Illinois Sen. Celina Villanueva announced Wednesday.

"The systemic health disparities my community faces have existed since well before this pandemic, but are now on display for everyone to see," Villanueva said. "I am grateful that the state is increasing testing availability in the communities hardest hit by coronavirus. Everyone deserves access to quality health care, regardless of their ZIP code."

The site will be open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., as well as Saturday from 10 am. to 3 p.m.

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Patients are encouraged to contact the center in advance by calling 773-388-1600.
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