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WGLT's reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, which began in McLean County in March 2020.

Testing Criteria Loosened After Slow First Day At COVID-19 Drive-Up Site

Guard members handle tests
Wynndermere Shaw
Illinois National Guard
Illinois National Guard members handle COVID-19 testing equipment at a drive-thru testing site in Bloomington on Saturday, March 28, 2020. Gov. J.B. Pritzker activated Illinois Army and Air National Guard members to provide support to COVID-19 operations.

The testing criteria were loosened Sunday after a lower-than-expected turnout for the first day of drive-up COVID-19 testing in Bloomington, officials said.

People no longer need to have a temperature of 100.4 or higher to be tested. As of Sunday, these four groups can be tested:

  • Seniors (65+) with respiratory symptoms
  • Patients with underlying medical conditions with respiratory symptoms
  • Healthcare workers with respiratory symptoms
  • First responders with respiratory symptoms

Just 80 people were tested for COVID-19 on Saturday during the first day of Bloomington's drive-up testing site. The low turnout was well under the 250-test daily capacity for the site at the McLean County Fairgrounds (Interstate Center). The testing site is open every day (including Sunday) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Another 70 people had been tested Sunday as of 4 p.m., state officials told WGLT.

One reason for Saturday's turnout could be the restrictive criteria, as well as confusion about whether they had changed. Those criteria have now been loosened.

The testing criteria are set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as it's an HHS-support testing site.

Officials say there is no residency restriction at the state-run site, so you don't have to be a McLean County resident to visit.

Patients will be contacted with their results within three to five days. The specimens are sent to private labs (run by LabCorp and Quest).

We’re living in unprecedented times when information changes by the minute. WGLT will continue to be here for you, keeping you up-to-date with the live, local and trusted news you need. Help ensure WGLT can continue with its in-depth and comprehensive COVID-19 coverage as the situation evolves by making a contribution.

Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.