CHICAGO (CBS) — A new record number of COVID-19 cases were reported in Illinois Friday, and virtually all of Illinois is in emergency mode with measure to try to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Despite the spike in cases, getting a test can be difficult with long lines and wait times.
At Prieto Math and Science Academy, one of Chicago’s free testing sites, several people Friday though they would save time by making an appointment to get a test, but that didn’t help them. Some waited hours.
When you’re feeling sick, the last thing you want to do is sit in a line in your car, but Monica Ortiz had no choice.
“Yeah, we’ve been all the way past our high school, and it moves really slow,” she said.
She and her boyfriend don’t feel well, and they booked two tests.
“So we got here early, but our appointment was for 1:30,” she said.
An hour later and they were just rounding a corner with more time to wait.
Druelle Grimes had been waiting at least half an hour with a car full of family needing tests after her father fell ill, and the delay with kids is even tougher.
“Our appointment was between 1 and 1:30. It’s 2:37 now,” she said.
The rush comes on another day of record numbers of new COVID-19 Cases in the state. Data from the Illinois Department of Public Health shows Friday was the state’s highest single day of testing since the pandemic began, with more than 95,100 people taking tests.
With numbers like that, we will likely keep seeing lines like this.
“It is going to be harder and harder to be finding a test,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health. “And I cannot say strongly enough that the number one place that we want you to be getting tested for COVID is with your healthcare provider.”
But for those who need the free testing, be prepared to pay with your time.
At least we’re in the parking lot,” said Grimes. “Maybe we’ll be out by 3:30?”
Grimes was pretty close. She and her family were done around 3:20 p.m.. That is 2 hours and 20 minutes in line.
Since March 1 Chicago has conducted 1.4 million COVID-19 tests. There are three main testing sites and several mobile sites run by the city.