Public health district explains reasoning behind postponed testing


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A COVID-19 testing site was shut down before it could open. It would have been at the First Christian Church at the corner of Curtis and Staley. Instead, the Public Health District suggested the opening be postponed.

Church leaders said they were overwhelmed with calls about the testing. They contacted CUPHD who advised them to postpone the opening.

“What the church had said was they were getting a lot of questions, and there were a lot of comments on Facebook,” said Public Health District Administrator Julie Pryde.

Pryde said she wanted to make sure CDC guidelines were being followed by doctor Tom Pliura, who would be overseeing the site. Those guidelines would mean not just everyone can get a test.

“If people are doing it and they don’t have symptoms, and they’re just testing because they just want to test, and they don’t have any real reason to test… that’s taking resources that could be better used.”

However, Pryde said the Public Health District alone does not have the authority to shut a testing site down. Rather, they make suggestions to anyone looking to provide testing. At that advice, the testing was shut down. There is testing happening all over the U.S., including Illinois. Pryde said that is something the Public Health District has considered, but it is a massive undertaking.

“When CUPHD did this… did our drive-thru clinic here, we probably had 100 staff working. We had people here from our facility, from Christie, from Carle, this was for the mass vaccination clinic when we had H1N1.” When and if people do go to get tested, Pryde said they always need to have safety in mind. “I certainly don’t want people to pack into a car together and then come get tested and expose each other that way. Again, you need to stay away from people, and that means in your car, in your home, your place of business, everywhere you can, stay away from people.”

First Christian Church sent this statement in response to our request for comment:

“In the interest of serving our local community, First Christian Church initially partnered with a local health care clinic to provide a mobile test site for COVID-19. After further conversation with the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District and medical officials, we have been advised to postpone this partnership. All parties involved desire to bring health to our community in a safe and secure process. We are all in this journey together. We ask that we all honor the requests of our local officials and the ‘Shelter in Place’ order.”

Michelle Jacob, First Christian Church Central Services Director

It should be noted that we are under a “stay at home” order, not a “Shelter in Place” order.

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