Free COVID-19 testing drive-thru site prepares to open

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A free COVID-19 testing site will open at Marketplace Mall in Champaign tomorrow morning. The plan is to test 750 people a day. Anyone who is tested there will get their results in 24 hours from Carle.

Cars will be able to turn into the testing site from Market Street at Wilber Avenue. They will see cones and a tent. Illinois National Guard members will direct drivers where to go.

“Testing is free. You don’t need a doctor’s referral. You don’t need insurance,” said Illinois Department of Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “Testing is critical. It’s critical for many, many reasons, and we’re expanding our ability each day with efforts just like this one,” said Ezike.

The first step to getting a test at the site is determining if you are eligible.

“Generally if you’re over 65, if you have underlying medical conditions, if you have symptoms, if you’re a first responder, if you’re a healthcare worker, an essential employee, then you’re gonna be admitted. But if you feel you need a test, we encourage you to come out and talk to us,” said U.S. Army Major A.J. Ruggieri. People who have been around positive cases are also eligible for testing.

Once the guardsmen determine if you’re eligible, they’ll ask you to get in line to get to the tent. At the tent, you’ll be given a test to administer to yourself. They will walk you through that process.

“You’ll have it touch the nasal floor, and then swab three times and then remove. Make sure to not have the swab touch anything else or cross-contaminate the swab,” said Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Nurse River Andres.

This testing site will be open every day until they run out of tests. These large-scale testing sites are what state health leaders say are major steps to reopening our state.

“Please take advantage of his service that’s here, and let’s use this as part of our road to recover for the state of Illinois, starting with Champaign,” said Ezike.

Anyone coming to the site needs a car with working windows. Drivers will roll down their back window to talk to people at the site, and they’ll roll down the front window just a tad to hand the test back to the guardsmen.

The site is open from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., seven days a week until they run out. Get there before noon to guarantee a place in line. They will stop performing tests at 4 p.m. Keep the phone number on your testing paperwork handy. You will need to answer when they call. They won’t leave your result in a voicemail.

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