Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to clarify the North Park testing site is operated with the Illinois Department of Public Health and has been open since the summer. The city of Chicago is not affiliated with it.
CHICAGO — Chicago’s health department has opened two more COVID-19 testing sites after residents have struggled for weeks to find tests they trust.
Testing at the sites is free and open to all, though appointments are required, according to a Chicago Department of Public Health news release. The new sites, located Downtown, were opened in response to the Omicron surge, according to the department.
The new testing sites:
- DePaul University, 333 S. State St., concourse level: open 4-7 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday.
- Dirksen Federal Building, 219 S. Dearborn St.: open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday.
People may also get tested at Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N. St. Louis Ave., building E. It’s open 9 .am.-noon Mondays and Wednesdays and 2-5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. That site is run in partnership between the Illinois Department of Public Health and SHIELD.
People must register in advance to get tested at three sites that are being run in partnership with SHIELD Illinois, according to a health department news release. Go online and use the code “df5brbrj” to register.
The openings come after weeks of Chicagoans struggling to get tested during this wave of COVID-19 — and the sites didn’t open until Chicago was already coming down from its peak of Omicron cases.
Officials advised Chicagoans to get tested if they wanted to gather with family and friends during the holiday season. But the city shut down many of the testing sites it ran last year, health clinics and doctors offices were booked up and stores were sold out of at-home tests.
Many Chicagoans said they felt like they were forced to turn to questionable, for-profit pop-up testing sites.
Block Club has revealed numerous issues at such sites, and multiple Chicago-based testing companies — including the Center for COVID Control and O’Hare Clinical Lab — are now facing mounting customer complaints and federal and state investigations.
Chicagoans told Block Club they are frustrated the city, state and federal governments didn’t do more to prepare for testing for a fall and winter surge, especially since officials had predicted such a surge.
The city’s health department is still urging people to get tested if they have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with someone with the virus. Cases, hospitalizations and deaths remain high.
People can go online to get more information about testing.
Chicago has two other community-based testing sites:
- RUSH Little Village, 3960 W. 26th St. Available 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays.
- Esperanza Brighton Park, 4700 S. California Ave. Available 8 a.m.-3:50 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, Fridays and Saturdays.
Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers.
Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast” here: