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

Bloomington Drive-Up Site Has Tested 2,200+ People In Past 3 Weeks

Handling COVID tests
Illinois National Guard
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courtesy
More than 2,200 people have been tested for the coronavirus at the Bloomington drive-up site in the first three weeks since it’s opened, according to daily results provided by the McLean County Emergency Management Agency.";

Gov. JB Pritzker’s push this week for expanded testing across Illinois so far hasn’t led to major changes to what’s happening in McLean County.

Pritzker on Thursday detailed several initiatives to expand testing for the coronavirus, including a new site in Peoria. He also “announced an expansion of the State of Illinois’ recommended testing criteria to include all those who are experiencing COVID-like symptoms. This new guidance will apply to state-run drive-through testing centers and will be offered to medical providers across Illinois,” according to a statement.

Bloomington’s drive-up testing site already allowed anyone with symptoms to be tested. That change happened about two weeks ago.

McLean County medical providers, however, are still not able to test everyone with symptoms. It’s generally still limited to the most seriously ill patients being hospitalized.

“We just don’t have the testing available on the outpatient side yet,” Lynn Fulton, president of OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington, said this week. “We have a few of those testing sites. We’re very lucky to have the one in McLean County, so folks in this area are able—if they’re symptomatic—to be able to go out and be tested. But in the hospital space, we’re following the (Illinois Department of Public Health) recommendations for testing, because we only have a limited number of tests available, so we’re only testing those critical patients who will be hospitalized.”

WGLT asked Bloomington-Normal’s two major health systems whether the governor’s announcement will change who they test.

“OSF HealthCare looks forward to the opportunity to test all patients who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms once those testing supplies are made available to us directly or through additional drive-up testing sites the governor has announced,” Mike Cruz, chief operating officer for OSF HealthCare, told WGLT.

“There will be no change at this time,” said Lynn Hutley, a spokesperson for Advocate Aurora Health, which operates Advocate BroMenn hospital in Normal.

Drive-Up Site Open Daily

Still, the Bloomington drive-up testing site remains a good option for many.

More than 2,200 people have been tested for the coronavirus at the Bloomington drive-up site in the first three weeks since it’s opened, according to daily results provided by the McLean County Emergency Management Agency. It’s averaging about 100 people per day. The site’s daily capacity is 250 people.

The state-run site, located at the Interstate Center (McLean County Fairgrounds) is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Anyone with symptoms can be tested if they complete the self-swab test by themselves. In a change since the site opened, minors can be tested (if accompanied by a parent or guardian). First responders or health care personnel don’t even need to show symptoms to be tested.

Those being tested at the drive-up site can now access their results online. If you were tested before April 15, visit Quest Diagnostics’ website. If you were tested on or after April 15, visit LabCorp’s website.

The Trump administration announced new guidelines Thursday for states to reopen businesses and schools and relax social distancing measures, but public health experts say the plan skirts a major hurdle needed to safely get things moving: a shortage of tests for the coronavirus.

As of Sunday, the McLean County Health Department says around 1,600 people have been tested and received their results.

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