Access to Coronavirus Testing Slowly Increasing, but Pritzker Pushing to Add More Capacity

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Slowly but surely, access to coronavirus testing in the state of Illinois is becoming more readily available, but there are still some limits on who can receive the tests.

In suburban Norridge, a COVID-19 testing facility has been opened to serve first responders and health care workers, but now those individuals age 60 and older who are showing symptoms of the virus can also be tested.

The process itself is simple enough, with a nasal swab being used to conduct the test, but wait times can be long, and the facility is limited to 250 tests per day.

The Illinois National Guard is helping to conduct the tests.

“You’ll be directed by local law enforcement, and you’ll have some paperwork you’ll have to fill out,” Major A.J. Ruggieri said. “All of our soldiers are in protective gear, and they will give you directions. They may have you keep your window rolled up, or may ask you to crack it open so they can hear what you’re saying.”

The testing facility is one of several opening around the state to help conduct more coronavirus tests in the days and weeks to come. While Governor J.B. Pritzker says that the state is conducting roughly 4,000 tests a day, a massive increase from the beginning of the pandemic, his goal is to ratchet that up to at least 10,000 tests per day in coming weeks.

To that end, the governor recruited north suburban-based Abbot Labs, who is developing a newer, quicker coronavirus test.

First responders are grateful for the increased access to testing, saying it’s helping give them peace of mind amidst the crisis.

“We are serving the community, but we have families as well,” CPD Sgt. Anthony Varchetto said. “There is a concern that after your tour of duty that (you’re) bringing that home to your family.”

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