By Bonnie Jean Adams
Illinois is seeing a severe coronavirus (COVID-19) flareup, rivaling its initial pandemic peak in May. The Illinois Department of Health reported new cases topped 47,000 in October, more than double the figure for the entire month of June. As Gazette Chicago went to press, the number of new cases was still on the increase.
Chicago needs more testing sites, according to 25th Ward Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez. “We have seen the disparities in our city of disproportionate testing,” he said. “Representatives of the Chicago Department of Public Health agree with me that we need to do more to increase access to testing of the underserved and those at highest risk; the African American and Latin American populations. But the issue is money—there’s not enough. We have to get the word out to build partnerships locally, to have testing areas out in the communities for people most at risk.”
In a statement, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot noted, “The outbreak continues to have a disproportionate impact on Black and, particularly of late, Latinx communities. As we gradually ease our reopening guidelines, we will continue to watch trends closely, particularly among essential workers and People of Color.”
Most people who contract the virus show mild symptoms; find symptoms listed on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html.
Several healthcare systems in this community continue to offer both ongoing and increased testing for coronavirus.
ACCESS Centro Medico San Rafael, 3204 W 26th St., 8 a.m. to noon daily. First hour of the day from 8 to 9 a.m. reserved for those over age 65 or any adult who needs additional assistance. No walk-ins accepted. Insured patients’ insurance will be charged for a telehealth visit. ACCESS will not turn away any patient who is uninsured or unable to pay. Staff speak English and Spanish. Call (800) 836-7633.
Alivio Medical Center locations provide COVID-19 testing regardless of patient ability to pay, an integral part of Alivio’s mission as a federally qualified health center.
For the most updated testing times and locations, check the website at www.aliviomedicalcenter.org/content/covid-19-testing. Both current Alivio patients and non-patients are eligible for testing at Alivio’s two clinics:
Morgan Clinic, 966 W. 21st St., parking lot, testing hours Monday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or until capacity is reached.
Berwyn Clinic, 6447 W. Cermak Rd., parking lot, testing hours Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., until capacity is reached.
Alivio provides COVID-19 testing on a first come, first served basis via drive-through, bike-through, or walk-up options (with social distancing for the outdoor testing) No appointment is needed. Alivio accepts insurance but tests at no charge for the uninsured. Nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and physicians—all wearing personal protective equipment—perform the tests. Alivio staff are bicultural, with most able to speak more than one language, including Spanish and Chinese.
Alivio also offers antibody testing for individuals who can document exposure to a COVID-positive person.
Call (773) 254-1400.
Aunt Martha’s Health and Wellness Inc., 5001 S. Michigan Ave., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday, appointment required. Staff speak English and Spanish. Call (877) 692-8686.
Cedar Crosse Research Center, 800 S. Wells St., Suite M-15, is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Staff speak English and Spanish. Insurance or payments accepted. COVID-19 testing by appointment. Call (312) 431-6780 to make an appointment.
Clear Wellness Group, 1605 S. Michigan Ave., Unit 1, is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Anyone can get tested, and the group has same day appointments available to test for COVID infection as well as antibodies from prior COVID infection. Staff speak English, Spanish, and Gujarati. Call the group’s COVID hotline at (312) 535-5770 or log on to www.clearwellnessgroup.com or https://clearwellnessgroup.com/covid-19/#schedule,
Cook County Stroger Hospital did not respond with testing information. Its website mentions hospital procedures for COVID-19 but does not list COVID-19 testing information: https://cookcountyhealth.org/locations/john-h-stroger-jr-hospital-of-cook-county/. The Cook County Health website provides a live calendar with very limited testing dates and locations. https://cookcountyhealth.org/patients-visitors/events/ County officials recommend finding testing sites by logging on to dph.illinois.gov/covid19/covid-19-testing-sites.
For Your Health and Wellness, 401 W. Ontario St., Suite 220, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Staff speak English and Spanish. Call (312) 741-1961.
Loop Medical Center, 1921 S. Michigan Ave., 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, appointment required. Staff speak Arabic, English, Polish, Serbian, and Spanish. Log on to https://15632.portal.athenahealth.com/. 900 W. Randolph St., open every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. COVID hotline: (312) 414-1088. Log on to www.loopmedicalcenter.com.
Mercy Hospital and Medical Center reported no information to share on COVID-19 testing. Its website notes changes and restrictions for hospitalized patients and provides an online screening tool at www.mercy-chicago.org/.
Physicians Immediate Care Chicago West Loop, 600 W. Adams St., is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and offers curbside exams to determine if testing is appropriate. COVID-19 testing is available daily by appointment only. Select testing time on the morning of testing days; slots fill up quickly. Staff speak English and Spanish. COVID hotline is (312) 767-0400.
Rush University Medical Center, 600 S. Paulina St. COVID hotline offered with more than 50 languages at (888) 352-RUSH.
St. Anthony Hospital, 2875 W. 19th St., is open for testing from 9 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Friday. Appointments required. English and Spanish offered. COVID hotline is (773) 484-4000. Log on to https://sahchicago.org/.
University of Chicago’s UChicago Medicine campus curbside COVID-19 testing at 5841 S. Maryland Ave. is open to the public by appointment. Call (773) 702-2800 for screening and scheduling appointments. MyChart virtual screening also is available. UChicago testing focuses on those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
Get locations and instructions online at: www.uchicagomedicine.org/patients-visitors/patient information/coronavirus-information/coronavirus-patient-education. Clinic testing hours vary by location. UChicago Medicine management notes on its website that patients are not expected to pay out of pocket for COVID-19 testing, nor will UChicago bill them for COVID-related services provided; however, it still requires insurance information for processing.
University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System (UI Health) provides coronavirus testing at no cost to patients. It does not charge uninsured patients; insured patients can expect their insurance company to cover COVID-19 testing at 100%.
To see all UI Health testing locations and how to access them, visit https://hospital.uillinois.edu/primary-and-specialty-care/infectious-diseases/covid-19-coronavirus/testing-and-triage.
Patients must use the nurse triage line and receive a recommendation for a test to schedule an appointment. UI Health tests by appointment only and does not currently accept walk-ins. To schedule an appointment, call the nurse triage line at (866) 600-2273.
UI Health COVID-19 testing sites are located at: Mile Square Health Center-Main, 1220 S. Wood St., Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Pilsen Family Health Center Lower West, 1713 S. Ashland Ave., Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Mile Square Health Center-South Shore, 7037 S. Stony Island Ave. (call for South Shore’s hours after approval from nurse triage).
Emergency walk-in testing for individuals with symptoms (coughing, shortness of breath, fever) is available at University of Illinois Hospital’s emergency department, 1740 W. Taylor St., between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m.
For the Office of the Mayor call (312) 744-3334. For Sigcho-Lopez, log on to www.25thward.org or call (773) 523-4100.