COVID-19 testing site in Wheaton ramps up capacity

  • The DuPage County COVID-19 testing site in Wheaton is shifting to a Monday-Friday operation.

      The DuPage County COVID-19 testing site in Wheaton is shifting to a Monday-Friday operation. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer, June 2020

 
 
Updated 8/27/2020 6:06 PM

DuPage County's COVID-19 testing site in Wheaton is now providing up to 600 tests a day as public health officials warn of a concerning rise in new virus cases.

The Illinois Department of Public Health and a downstate lab processing test results has increased the testing capacity at the drive-through site at the county fairgrounds. The operation had been conducting as many as 400 daily tests.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The site has handled well over 14,000 tests since opening June 16. The average positivity rate at the site stands at 2.41%, DuPage Health Department Executive Director Karen Ayala said.

The new capacity comes as the county is averaging 100 cases per day over the last week, with the addition of Thursday's COVID-19 data. Before moving into the fourth phase of the state's reopening plan, DuPage had a seven-day rolling average of about 35 cases per day in mid-June.

"So we are seeing a concerning 248% increase in the number of cases that are being confirmed over the past eight weeks," Ayala told the county board Tuesday.

The county also will shift to a Monday-Friday operation after seeing a lower volume of traffic at the site on Saturdays.

Starting next week, the new hours are 7 a.m. to noon Mondays through Fridays, or until testing capacity is reached.

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The changes were made to align with demand for testing earlier in the week and to make testing available throughout the week as DuPage County schools and other environments continue to reopen, health department spokesman Don Bolger said.

Wheaton residents compromise the vast majority of people coming to the site, with 3,081 tested through Aug. 10. The site also has performed tests for 1,372 Glen Ellyn residents and 1,055 Naperville residents.

DuPage residents can access the site through the main entrance of the county government complex off County Farm Road. They don't need an appointment, doctor referral or insurance to receive a free test.

All the tests are self-administered. Testing personnel will give each person a nasal swab and directions through their car window. They then must swab their own nose without leaving their vehicle.

The site will close to observe Labor Day and reopen 7 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8. It's run by 48 temporary staff and 5 county health department employees.

Cumulatively, more than 14,000 people have contracted COVID-19 in DuPage County since March. More than 530 people have died.

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