Until recently, officials were encouraging anyone with mild coronavirus symptoms to stay home to conserve the limited number of tests that the state of Illinois had on hand. At his daily press conference today, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that anyone in Illinois displaying symptoms can now be tested, even if they don't show up to the testing site with a doctor's order.
The expansion of testing comes as the state has secured more testing supplies and increased the capacity for test processing at the Illinois Department of Public Health's three laboratories. A complete list of testing sites will be made available on the State of Illinois coronavirus response website, and Pritzker promised that additional drive-through testing facilities will be opened throughout the state in the coming days.
While the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Illinois currently stands at more than 25,000, officials have acknowledged that the actual number of cases is likely much higher due to the fact that many people have either chosen not to be tested or are unable to get tested. Increased testing is one of the keys to containing the spread of the coronavirus, especially in light of new findings concerning the virus. “New research suggests that people with coronavirus may be most contagious the day they start symptoms or even a day or two before,” Illinois Department of Public Health director Dr. Ngozi Ezike stated at today's press conference.
In the coming weeks and months, increased testing may help influence decisions to reopen certain industries and businesses that are currently closed under the "stay-at-home" order by requiring employees to get regular testing. Pritzker said that he'd like for the state to be able to perform 100,000 test per day at some point in the future—a volume of testing that no other state in the U.S. has achieved yet.
If you develop a fever, cough and shortness of breath, you can get in touch with your healthcare provider to inquire about testing options—there are various clinics, hospitals and health centers throughout the city that have access to testing supplies.
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