Mayor Lori Lightfoot Announces COVID-19 Mobile Testing Pilot Program
City launches pilot to expand COVID-19 testing with neighborhood- and first responder-focused mobile testing sites
CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today launched a COVID-19 mobile testing pilot program to further the City’s mission of reaching residents in communities that are experiencing a disproportionate impact from the COVID-19 virus. The first community-based mobile testing site will begin operating today at Austin Health Center and a second community-based site will begin operating later in the week at Kennedy King College as operations transition there from the static site to mobile testing. Also starting today, the City will begin operating mobile testing on the Northwest and Southwest sides to specifically serve first responders on the frontlines of the pandemic.
“I am very pleased Chicago is taking this latest, critical step in expanding our city’s testing capabilities with the launch of our mobile pilot program,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “As we continue to safely reopen our city while still preventing further spread of COVID-19, these additional sites will play a vital role in not only allowing us to continue to increase the number of residents being tested, but to do so equitably in order to support our communities most in need.”
Each mobile testing site will have the capacity to test up to 500 persons per day and will have the flexibility to travel, allowing testing to be directed toward communities most impacted by the virus. Mobile testing sites will be working in close partnership with community organizations in order to best ensure the needs of local residents are being prioritized. The City will review the success of the pilot based on key metrics of percent positivity and testing volume to determine how to best expand the mobile testing offerings throughout Chicago, which will be done in coordination with outreach from Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE) and the City’s Racial Equity Rapid Response (RERR) team.
The City today also launched mobile testing to expand its capabilities for first responders. These testing sites will function similar to other City-run mobile testing sites however, they will focus specifically on first responders. Any resident that is not a first responder and would like to be tested is encouraged to visit the local testing center nearest to them.
The testing expansion comes as the City looks to move into phase four of its ‘Protecting Chicago’ reopening framework and must continue meeting its benchmark of 4500 tests per day. All residents are encouraged to self-monitor and get tested if they meet eligibility criteria, which was expanded last week to allow for testing of anyone who has had a recent high-risk exposure including participation in protests that have happened throughout the city, and as residents continue expanding their social circles amid the Citywide reopening.
Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 is free for all residents and, the City strongly encourages anyone who thinks they may need to be tested to visit one of these sites. Workers at the sites can accommodate several language needs in order to provide the best experience and educate residents. No questions will be asked about citizenship status, and no documentation related to citizenship will be requested. The data collected for testing appointments whether online or onsite and returned from the tests will only be shared with the City of Chicago’s Department of Public Health.
The testing sites are open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and are located at:
- Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy
- Horizon Science Academy – Southwest
- Dr. Jorge Prieto Math & Science Academy
- Gately Park
- Columbus Park
Any Chicago resident should be tested at the early onset of these symptoms:
- Fever or chills
- Mild or moderate difficulty breathing
- Sore throat
- Muscle aches or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Nausea or vomiting
If you do not have any new symptoms, you should get tested if you had a recent high-risk exposure, which includes any of the below:
- Recent contact to someone who has, or is suspected to have, COVID-19
- Recent high-risk exposures, including close contact with many other people in a large group gathering or crowd
- First responders or other essential workers with potential recent exposures
All City-run sites can accommodate testing for healthcare workers and first responders who are more frequently exposed to COVID-19. However, it is important to note that testing criteria and guidelines may be different for healthcare workers and first responders. Workers should follow guidance from their employer to determine eligibility.
Getting tested is the best way to know if you have COVID-19, and the City strongly encourages anyone getting tested to schedule an appointment online if possible. Knowing if you have the virus can help to best ensure health needs are met and allow for preventative actions earlier on to keep others safe and prevent further spread. To learn more about the City’s testing sites, or to register to get tested, please visit chi.gov/covidtesting.