Chicago expands COVID-19 testing

Chronicle Media

A medical professional administers a COVID-19 nasal swab test. The city of Chicago is expanding its COVID-19 testing to include any resident wanting to be tested. (University of Illinois at Chicago photo)

The city of Chicago has announced a citywide eligibility expansion for residents to get tested for COVID-19 at six city-run testing sites.

City officials are encouraging anyone who had a recent high-risk exposure to be tested, which includes participation in protests throughout the city and country over the past several weeks. The city is also encouraging all residents to continue self-monitoring as reopening continues.

The measures aim to ensure that any Chicago resident in need of testing can be accommodated and further increase the amount of testing per day citywide.

“As our city’s industries and public spaces cautiously reopen, we must remain steadfast in our fight against the COVID-19 virus, especially in light of the rising case levels we’ve seen in other areas nationwide,” said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “We encourage all Chicago residents who think they may need to be tested to visit one of these six sites, as well as learn more and pre-register online. We still have a long way to go with this pandemic and we all have a part to play in keeping ourselves and our communities healthy and secure during the months ahead.”

Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 is free for all residents and available based on eligibility requirements (below). The city encourages individuals who think they may need to be tested to visit one of the sites. Workers can accommodate several languages at testing sites. No questions will be asked about citizenship status; and no documentation related to citizenship will be requested. The data collected for testing appointments whether online or onsite and returned from the tests will only be shared with Chicago’s Department of Public Health.

The testing sites, open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday, are at:

  • Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy
  • Horizon Science Academy – Southwest
  • Jorge Prieto Math & Science Academy
  • Kennedy King College
  • Gately Park
  • Columbus Park

Any Chicago resident should be tested at the early onset of:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Mild or moderate difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches or body aches
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Nausea or vomiting

If you do not have any new symptoms, you should get tested if you had a recent high-risk exposure, which includes:

  • Recent contact to someone who has, or is suspected to have, COVID-19
  • Recent high-risk exposures, including close contact with many other people in a large group gathering or crowd
  • First responders or other essential workers with potential recent exposures

All city-run sites can accommodate testing for healthcare workers and first responders who are more frequently exposed to COVID-19. However, it is important to note that testing criteria and guidelines may be different for healthcare workers and first responders. Workers should follow guidance from their employer to determine eligibility.

Getting tested is the best way to know if you have COVID-19, and the city strongly encourages anyone getting tested to schedule an appointment online, if possible, according to city officials. Knowing if you have the virus can help to best ensure health needs are met and allow for preventative actions earlier on to keep others safe and prevent further spread, city health officials noted.

To learn about the city’s six testing sites or to register to get tested, visit