CHICAGO (CBS) — Two sites that offer free COVID testing and vaccinations opened in the Chicago area on Saturday – in yet another symptom of the Delta variant.
As CBS 2’s Marissa Parra reported, one of the sites is at the Ford City Mall on the Southwest Side – where Georgia Johnson Banks got her first COVID vaccine shot in between shopping for clothes.READ MORE: Car Crashes Into Near North Diner
“I’ve been saying I’m going to go and get the vaccine for a while,” Banks said. “I’m like, what took me so long? It was so simple!”
Banks was the first to get the shot at one of two sites debuted by Agile Technologies. The one at Ford City Mall offers not just the vaccine, but also rapid COVID testing.
“Now we’re finding out because of the Delta variant, even people who are vaccinated are being infected and infecting others,” said Roderick Martin, chief executive officer of Agile Technologies. “We’re getting into the danger zone again.”
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found large public gatherings in Barnstable County, Massachusetts were tied to hundreds of COVID cases that followed – and 74 percent of those infected were fully vaccinated. However, only four of those fully vaccinated people were hospitalized and none died.
Still, that is why COVID testing sites likely are not going away anytime soon.
“We have a grand opening today because we want to highlight the importance of testing along with vaccination,” Martin said.READ MORE: Woman Killed In Jefferson Park Hit-And-Run
While the needle on the daily COVID test in the state has not really moved too much since June, our cameras spotted lines at a Lincoln Park testing site this week – as mask policy changes and Delta variant fears clash with the Lollapalooza music festival downtown.
And although we did not see the same lines inside Ford City Mall’s new testing site, Martin said even helping one person a day would make it all worth it.
“If we can impact one life positively, it’s exponential,” Martin said. “That person may live with other people, works with other people, has recreational activities, goes to church with other people.”
If you missed the debut of those new sites, don’t worry, they’re here to stay.
The Ford City site is at the mall, at 7601 S. Cicero Ave. It is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day.
The second site is at the River Oaks Mall, at 96 River Oaks Center in Calumet City. It is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.MORE NEWS: Police Officer Shot; 15-Year-Old Wounded, 1 Killed In South Shore
Just over 58 percent of adults in the state are fully vaccinated, and just days ago, the city added nine more states to Chicago’s travel advisory.