By Chris Tye

CHICAGO (CBS) — Finding a COVID test in some parts of the Chicago area has proven a challenge for many about to rev up holiday festivities.

In the past day, nearly 200,000 people took COVID tests in Illinois, and that’s not counting the ones who took them at home. Since Sunday, more than 12,000 learned they tested positive for the virus. That’s the highest since December 1st of last year.

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CBS 2’s Chris Tye reports from Ravenswood with the multiple routes you can take to get a same-day test, despite so many seemingly dead-ends.

A storefront that until a few months ago was an insurance office. Now, before the day is over, more than 200 people will have stood in line and gotten results of tests that help ensure they wont be transmitting the virus to family this Christmas.

“I’ve been looking around online, Walgreens, CVS, but they’re all booked up and everything,’ said Alan Weusthoff of Lincoln Square.

Booked solid. One Innovative Care Clinic has no slots open until Sunday. It’s Monday at the earliest at a CVS in Niles. The South Loop Walgreens has no appointments at all available.

“I just got back from traveling, so I wanted to be a responsible community member,” said Chanel Mahavongsnunt.

Those boxed out from the big box pharmacies popping into pop up testing centers. One off Foster had a line wrapped around the building all day. The payoff: same day results. Over 200 came through Monday alone.

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Temporary facilities inside camper-like clinics in the suburbs. At Lincoln Tech in Melrose Park they far exceeded Sunday’s numbers. The demand fueled by Omicron and warnings from the experts.

“You can’t chalk anything up to a common cold right now, especially in this current situation. You must get tested even for a runny nose,” said Dr. Emily Landon.

 

“Before the holidays everybody trying to get tested, before meeting up with family. That’s the reason I’m here,” said Weusthoff.

The seasons most in demand gift comes may a COVID test box. But comfort, joy and a green light to celebrate comes in a result, displaying one line in the display window, not two.

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The storefronts are neither operated nor overseen by the city or state health departments. They are businesses.