Community COVID-19 testing sites ending March 31 in Illinois

COVID-19 Community Testing Site at the Peoria Civic Center
COVID-19 Community Testing Site at the Peoria Civic Center(25 News/Heart of Illinois ABC)
Published: Mar. 25, 2022 at 4:20 PM CDT
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PEORIA (WEEK) - Due to a sharp drop in demand for COVID-19 testing services at the 10 community-based testing sites around the state - and the anticipated end of federal funding - operations will cease at these locations on March 31.

The Illinois Department of Public Health previewed that operations would be winding down when the mask mandate was lifted and has seen traffic at the sites – which carried out more than 1.5 million tests in total throughout their operation – drop precipitously in recent weeks.

The sites are currently handling less than one percent of the tests being conducted statewide, according to a release from IDPH.

The number of daily tests conducted at these sites is on track to be the lowest on record with each site seeing fewer than 50 individuals per day, according to IDPH data.

Given the availability of free at-home COVID-19 tests from the federal government, the statewide network of federally qualified health centers and the extensive number of SHIELD saliva testing sites throughout Illinois, there are ample, convenient opportunities for Illinois residents to obtain access to a test if needed.

IDPH says Illinois is currently strongly positioned to respond to a potential surge, with the State stockpile of tests nearly fully replenished. There are more than 1.5 million rapid tests on hand, with half a million more on the way in the coming weeks.

Hospitals, schools, and local health departments have been instructed to consider their current testing capacity and take all preparations necessary. Illinois is also in communication with pharmacies and healthcare providers about increasing their inventory of the various FDA-approved oral BA.2 treatments in case of another surge.

Demand for tests at the community-based sites reached a peak of more than 1,040 tests per day at each site in November 2020.

The five sites that also provide vaccinations will close operations as well, having administered almost 8,800 doses. This is in addition to more than 243,000 vaccinations provide through almost 8,000 mobile vaccination clinics.

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