A drive-thru test site for COVID-19 opened Monday to first responders and health professionals at a repurposed vehicle emissions test building on the Northwest Side.
The Illinois National Guard opened the site at 9 a.m. and will test 250 first responders today on a first-come, first-served basis, according to Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford.
The site at 6959 Forest Preserve Drive, near the Harlem Irving Plaza, is limited to police officers, firefighters, paramedics and other health professionals, he said. It’s unclear if the site will later be converted to a test site for the public.
Langford said he spoke to a few first responders in line who were testing “to be safe.”
“I haven’t talked to anyone who’s symptomatic,” he said. “They want to make sure they’re in good shape before dealing with the public.”
The test site had reached its daily capacity by 12:30 p.m.
“People showing up now are being waved off and told to come back tomorrow,” Langford said.
The site is a state vehicle emissions test facility that was closed in 2016.
Langford said the building lends itself well to testing for the virus because of the lanes and drive-thru.
Spokespeople for the Illinois National Guard and Illinois Department of Public Health did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
On Sunday, parts of two Walmart parking lots in Joliet and Northlake became makeshift drive-thru test sites for the virus. Each of those sites had a limit of 150 tests.
Last week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker called on Illinois National Guard service members to assist with the response to COVID-19.