Illinois has added 12 mobile teams to its arsenal of testing sites as part of its efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The testing teams will be deployed to communities hit hard by the pandemic throughout the state and facilities serving vulnerable populations. They will offer free drive-thru and walk-up services to any Illinois resident who wants to be tested for COVID-19, according to the governor’s office.
The teams “can be moved anywhere on any given day to mitigate and suppress emerging outbreaks, including places like meatpacking plants, nursing homes, migrant worker housing and other communities less able to access traditional testing clinics,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement.
The state already runs 11 testing sites offering free drive-thru and walk-up services. Dozens of other sites throughout the state are conducting testing for the virus.
The announcement comes as the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 980 new COVID-19 cases and 36 virus-related deaths in the 24 hours between Tuesday and Wednesday. To date, more than 149,432 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Illinois; 7,099 virus-related deaths have also been reported in the state.
According to public health officials, 1,518 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday night, and of those, 331 were in the intensive care unit and 151 were on ventilators. Despite the uptick in cases, the statewide positivity rate is 2.6%, according to officials.
Since Tuesday, labs have processed 32,742 specimens, officials said. More than 1.8 million tests have been conducted statewide to date.
Testing has played a critical role in allowing the state to reopen its economy, and the mobile testing units put Illinois on the “cutting-edge” of testing, according to Pritzker.
“Illinois has built one of the largest testing programs in the nation, and that’s partly the reason we have made so much progress fighting COVID-19 statewide,” he said. “Performing nearly 30,000 tests per day allows us to monitor the progress of our mitigation strategies, target our testing toward vulnerable populations, and reduce the spread of this virus.”
Pritzker also urged people to wear face coverings, wash their hands and maintain social distancing. “Make no mistake. This pandemic, unfortunately, will be with us for a long time,” he said.
Coronavirus Prevention Tips and Resources
Officials advise taking preventive measures to slow the spread of the virus, including:
—Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
—Using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
—Sneezing or coughing into a tissue and then disposing of the tissue
—Limiting contact with people regardless of how you feel
—Staying home when you are sick
Symptoms of COVID-19 include, but are not limited to:
—New onset of fever, cough, shortness of breath
—Congestion in the nasal sinuses or lungs
—Sore throat, body aches or unusual fatigue
If you think you have COVID-19:
Call your doctor before showing up at their office. If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, tell the operator that you think you have COVID-19. If possible, wear a mask before medical help arrives or presenting at a doctor’s office. More advice for those who think they have COVID-19.
—Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
—Illinois’ COVID-19 website
—Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) website
—IDPH COVID-19 hotline: 800-889-3931
—IDPH COVID-19 email link
—City of Chicago COVID-19 website
—City of Chicago COVID-19 hotline: 312-746-4835
—City of Chicago COVID-19 email link