In 14 Illinois counties, thousands of at-home, rapid COVID tests are being made available for free, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced Friday.
According to the department, 225,000 test kits are being made available through Project Access COVID Tests to residents in certain zip codes.
Residents in the eligible communities can order the tests via AccessCovidTests.org, where they can sign up for a free home delivery. Each household will then receive five tests, or one kit, within two weeks of ordering. Shipping is free, IDPH noted.
"These tests are available on a first-come-first-served basis," the department said.
Counties included in the program are Cook, DuPage, Henry, Jackson, Jefferson, Kankakee, Lake, Macon, Madison, Marion, Peoria, St. Clair, Will, and Winnebago counties.
Here's a full list of eligible zip codes:
Cook County - 60302, 60651, 60164, 60165, 60609, 60632, 60406, 60445, 60472, 60803, 60626, 60659, 60616, 60653, 60636, 60621, 60620, 60628, 60624, 60644, 60411, 60461, 60466, 60612, 60619, 60651
DuPage County - 60106, 60131
Henry – 61345, 61443
Jackson – 62864
Jefferson - 62864
Kankakee – 60901, 60915
Lake – 60064, 60085
Macon – 62521, 62522, 62526
Madison - 62002
Marion – 62801, 62882
St. Clair – 62040, 62059, 62060, 62090, 62201, 62206, 62207
Will – 60432, 60435, 60436
Winnebago – 61101, 61103, 61111, 61102, 61104
“Testing is still a critical component for slowing transmission of COVID-19 and helping prevent further infections,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. “With readily available at-home testing, individuals can find out very quickly if they are positive and take action to isolate for five days while alerting those with whom they had close contact that they should also test. Readily available tests can help us chart a course for the new normal and help us learn how to coexist with COVID-19.”
IDPH said the tests that will be shipped to residents have been given emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The tests will require a nasal swab and results will be available within minutes.
"Individuals who have not yet been vaccinated or who have the highest risk of exposure to COVID-19, such as people working or going to school outside the home, are ideal candidates for testing, but anyone 2 years and older is able to test," the department said in a release.
While the program is currently limited to one kit containing five tests per residential address, IDPH said that requirement is during the first phase of the program, but added that the Rockefeller Foundation "is actively working to bring in new partners to scale the program."
Eligibility for the free tests was based on the state's "social vulnerability index," which looks at more than a dozen social factors such as socioeconomic status, household composition and disability, minority status and language, housing and transportation.
IDPH determined initial eligibility based on the Social Vulnerability Index, which looks at 14 social factors in the areas of socioeconomic status, household composition and disability, minority status and language, and housing and transportation.
The announcement comes at the same time free at-home COVID tests from the government started shipping out to homes across the country.