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Drive-thru COVID-19 testing to begin in McLean County on Saturday

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MCLEAN COUNTY, Ill. (HOI) -- The state's second drive-thru COVID-19 testing facility will open in McLean County at 9 a.m. Saturday at the McLean County Fairgrounds.

The county is participating in a pilot program with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to offer COVID-19 testing to individuals who meet specific criteria.

This Community-based Testing Site will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or until the daily amount of tests, capped at 250, runs out. The state opened its first drive-thru testing facility in Chicago earlier this week.

HHS will provide staff from the United States Public Health Service to operate the site, with assistance from the Illinois National Guard, state and local emergency management and public health officials.

“We see so much value in being able to increase testing capacity in Central Illinois through testing sites like this one,” said Jessica McKnight, McLean Health Department Administrator.

“We know that access to testing in our area and across the country has been a source of frustration and confusion. And while testing will not be an instant solution for COVID-19, we hope it will allow us to have a more accurate picture of what is happening in our community and help us in our fight to stop the spread of this virus.”

Logistics and medical units from the Illinois National Guard will be running the tests and operation center.

"There are several doctors, nurses, medical technicians that in their civilian jobs do that and then with the air wing also have the same roles. So they are the ones that are going to be in there taking samples. The medical doctors will be there observing everything," Major AJ Ruggier with the Illinois National Gaurd Public Affairs department said.

The State of Illinois has determined that the following individuals will receive priority for COVID-19 testing under the HHS community-based testing site program:

• Healthcare workers with respiratory symptoms and a temperature of 100.4 or greater First responders *with* respiratory symptoms and a temperature of 100.4 or greater.

• Seniors (65+) with respiratory symptoms and a temperature of 100.4 or greater.

• Patients with underlying medical conditions with respiratory symptoms and a temperature of 100.4 or greater.

Those who have taken fever-reducing medicines within six hours before arrival at the testing site will not be eligible to be tested. Testing criteria may be expanded beyond the initial pilot program.

Testing is limited to four individuals per vehicle, and those individuals must be seated at a seat with a working window. Those looking to get tested will be required to show 1) photo identification and 2) healthcare facility employee or first responder ID/badge. Walk-up individuals will not be accepted.

For more information about COVID-19 visit coronavirus.illinois.gov.

Stephanie Rodriguez

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