Chicago Announces 6 New Coronavirus Testing Locations

Support for the testing sites comes in part from actor Sean Penn's nonprofit organization

Coronavirus swab test
Steve Pfost/Newsday RM via Getty Images

The city of Chicago announced on Monday six new coronavirus testing sites, some located in areas disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, in partnership with actor Sean Penn's nonprofit organization.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot joined Penn Monday morning to announce the new testing locations at Dr. Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy, one of the sites that opened Friday in the city's Belmont Cragin neighborhood.

Another site opened Wednesday at Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy, located in the city's Little Village neighborhood, officials said. Both Prieto and Saucedo are testing symptomatic residents in their respective communities, the city said, and have collectively conducted more than 800 tests since opening.

Four additional sites will be opened across the city, Lightfoot's office said, one of which will be located in the parking lot of Guaranteed Rate Field. That location will test asymptomatic people, focused specifically on first responders and healthcare workers on the frontlines of the pandemic.

“These new sites serve as the cornerstone of our effort to dramatically expand COVID-19 testing in Chicago through the rest of the month, with a special focus on our communities of color, which have been disproportionately impacted by this disease,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “With the incredible support from our partners at CORE and Curative, our entire city will also be able to move that much closer to Phase Three of our reopening plan that will allow us to safely ease restrictions on many businesses, support our recovery from this crisis, and get Chicago back on track.”

The remaining three sites, the locations of which have not been announced, will have staggered launches over the next several weeks, city officials said Monday.

Part of the support for the testing sites comes from CORE, which stands for Community Organized Relief Effort. CORE is a nonprofit organization focused on disaster preparedness and emergency relief that Penn co-founded after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. CORE has previously opened 19 testing sites in multiple states across the country, focused specifically on vulnerable and underserved communities.

“We are honored to work alongside collaborative and capable partners such as Mayor Lightfoot and the Rainbow Coalition to offer free testing to Chicago, particularly for communities who are disproportionately affected by the pandemic,” Penn said in a statement.

Lightfoot and Penn were also joined at Monday's announcement by Chef José Andrés, whose nonprofit World Central Kitchen has distributed 75,000 fresh meals to Chicagoans in need so far during the pandemic, and will provide meals to the medical workers and teams staffing the testing sites.

Officials encouraged Chicago residents with COVID-19 symptoms, or frontline workers without symptoms who would like to be tested to register for a test online at the city's website here.

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