CHICAGO (CBS) — With surging COVID cases, Chicago’s mayor and the head of the city’s health department announced a new permanent testing site at Midway Airport along with enhanced COVID testing options throughout the city.

According to Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the new permanent site is one of several community testing sites that will share $14 million in grants to fund the service.

“Chicago is setting new testing records every day and it is our highest priority to ensure that testing remains equitably accessible and available to Chicago’s most vulnerable residents,” said Lightfoot. “We will continue to work with partners and direct resources to the communities who have been hit the hardest by this pandemic.”

Doctor Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Health Department, said more than 16,000 tests are done every day in the city. That’s compared to around 5,000 tests done in June.

“The best way to get tested is by calling your health care provider, but there are many other convenient and affordable ways to get tested in Chicago, including new at-home testing services,” said Arwady. “Additionally, we have partnered with community health centers to ensure that people, regardless of ability to pay, insurance or immigration status, have access to both testing and primary care.”

The Midway site is not aimed for travelers, but Chicago residents. More mobile testing vans will also be deployed. Arwady said testing doesn’t release anyone from the COVID restrictions to prevent the spread, including wearing a mask, washing hands frequently and practicing social distancing.

The permanent site at Midway will open next week, Tuesday and Thursdays from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

“Testing only protects you once you have COVID. It is an important part of our strategy, but even more important are the things that we are doing to prevent COVID here in Chicago. When you are staying home, except for work, school and other essential things, when you are not having individuals over into your home right now,” Arwady said. “Pease do not confuse access to testing with thinking that you don’t need to continue to do the things that protect us as a city.”

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON CHICAGO COVID TESTING OPTIONS

The city’s health department is putting out 40,000 rapid tests (BinaxNow) to community health centers.

For people who do not have a healthcare provider, the city has a map set up to help people find COVID testing sites. Click here to see COVID testing sites in your area.

CDPH is partnering with the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership and City Colleges of Chicago to “identify opportunities to provide staffing support to these organizations and help them identify suitable community testing site locations.”

There are some changes to current COVID testing centers. Some have moved and there are new ones now available.The changes take effect on Monday, November 23.

*Charles A. Prosser Career Academy at 2148 N Long Ave will have testing Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m.

*Midway Airport, Parking Lot B 5738 W 55th Tuesday & Thursday, 12:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Saturday, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

*Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy 2850 W 24th Blvd. Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

*Gately Park 744 E 103rd St, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 10:00 a.m-4:00 p.m.

 

The city said it’s recommending that the following people should go out and test a COVID test:

*People who have symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever or chills, cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, muscle or body aches, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.

*People who have been in contact with someone who is ill, especially if it’s someone they live with, a friend or a coworker.

*People who have recently participated in a high-risk activity, such as attending a large gathering or crowded space.

 

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