The Illinois Department of Public Health announced that 10 community-based COVID testing sites will cease operations at the end of this month, citing steep declines in patients seeking testing and the ending of federal funding for the program.
According to a press release from the department, operations at the 10 sites will wind down and end on March 31.
The 10 sites, which have conducted more than 1.5 million tests during the pandemic, are handling less than 1% of all testing statewide, according to officials, and the number of tests per day has dwindled to less than 50 per day at each site.
The sites are located in Arlington Heights, Aurora, Bloomington, Champaign, Fairview Heights, Peoria, Rockford, South Holland, Waukegan, and Chicago’s Harwood Heights neighborhood.
COVID vaccination clinics at five of the sites will also close, according to officials.
State health officials say that federal funding for the program is expected to end this month, and that it was expected that testing would dwindle after the state’s mask mandate was lifted at the end of February.
Officials say that availability of free tests from the federal government, the number of SHIELD testing sites in Illinois and a statewide network of federally-qualified testing centers also contributed to the decision to wind down operations at the community testing centers.
Illinois health officials have more than 1.5 million rapid tests on hand, with more than 500,000 more arriving within the next few weeks.