COVID-19 testing site moves from Rolling Meadows High School to Arlington Park
The Northwest suburban COVID-19 state drive-through testing site relocated Monday from Rolling Meadows High School to Arlington International Racecourse, officials said.
The new Arlington Heights site is expected to handle the capacity of the former Rolling Meadows site and then some, thanks to its expansive parking lot that is largely going unused with spectator-free horse racing taking place next door.
After it opened May 22, the Rolling Meadows testing facility soon became the second-busiest in the state, with an average of 600 visitors per day. There are 10 such community-based testing sites operated by a state contractor, with several other mobile testing sites run by labs and hospitals throughout the state.
While the Sunday, Aug. 9, closure was previously announced by Northwest Suburban High School District 214, state officials didn't confirm whether the facility would be relocated until after it happened Monday.
Tests will be available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week while daily supplies last, state officials said.
The testing location is accessible off Arlington's 2200 W. Euclid Ave. entrance on the southwest side of the track, as opposed to the northeast Wilke Road entrance.
Tony Petrillo, president of the racetrack, said Arlington initially offered its parking lot to state leaders as a possible COVID-19 testing site in April.
State officials reached out to Arlington to relocate testing operations as District 214's contract with the state was about to expire. Original plans called for at least some students to return to Rolling Meadows High School and other District 214 buildings Aug. 12, but those plans were changed in recent days, with the district now saying students will begin the year remotely Aug. 17.
How long testing will continue outside Arlington is unknown, but Petrillo said the track would take requests for extending usage of the lot on an as-needed basis.
And even if Arlington gets approval on its long-sought request to be able to welcome back some spectators, the maximum capacity being proposed to state officials is 800, Petrillo said. That's a mere fraction of the 9,000-space parking lot.
Tests are free and available to all regardless of symptoms. A parent or guardian must be present to provide consent for those under the age of 18.
Health officials say individuals should be tested if they have been in contact with those who have or may have been exposed to the coronavirus, even if no symptoms are present.