West Chicago church to host new COVID-19 testing site
The first COVID-19 testing site in West Chicago will open next week at a mobile clinic to serve Latino communities suffering disproportionately from the coronavirus.
West Chicago has the second-highest number of cases -- 754 -- in DuPage County, just behind Addison's total. More than half the city's population is Latino.
West Chicago is one of the hardest-hit communities because residents who do not have the privilege of working from home during the pandemic face higher risk, said the Rev. Josh Ebener, pastor of St. Andrew Lutheran Church, a multicultural parish.
"A lot of our folks in our community have the essential jobs," Ebener said Wednesday. "They're working in factories where we're seeing a lot of these cases. In our own parish, we've had several cases."
St. Andrew runs an emergency food assistance program that reaches about 250 people each Saturday. The church will now host the testing center operated by VNA Health Care, a nonprofit provider, starting June 23.
"It's an economic and health crisis, and the two are inseparable," Ebener said. "We certainly think that we need to work on both of those fronts, and I think welcoming a testing center in our community here is a real big part of that."
Testing hours will run from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the church parking lot at Geneva and Prince Crossing roads.
Testing will be available for those with and without COVID-19 symptoms by appointment only.
People looking to get tested should call VNA at either (630) 892-4355 or (847) 717-6455. They will be checked by a VNA doctor or nurse practitioner before receiving the test.
VNA will provide the pretest assessment and COVID-19 specimen at no cost for people without insurance.
Expanding testing will help curb the virus' spread as Illinois prepares to move to the fourth phase of a reopening plan that will further loosen restrictions on businesses and gatherings, health officials say.
State Rep. Karina Villa of West Chicago called on community groups to work together to make testing accessible and alleviate pressure on drive-through sites in Wheaton, Aurora and Elgin.
"I am both relieved and grateful that West Chicago residents will now have a more accessible testing facility," Villa said in a statement. "As a member of this community, I know that we need to bring more resources to the communities that need them most."