How long of a wait to get a COVID-19 test? Sites, supplies are getting stretched this week

  • COVID-19 testing sites have gotten more crowded since Christmas, including this site Tuesday at Spring Hill Mall in Carpentersville.

      COVID-19 testing sites have gotten more crowded since Christmas, including this site Tuesday at Spring Hill Mall in Carpentersville. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 12/29/2021 6:16 AM

Illinois residents are finding it difficult to get a COVID-19 test as providers are being pushed to their limits amid the current surge in cases.

Those fortunate enough to schedule an appointment are reporting waits lasting four hours or longer to take the test.

 

"We have been tireless in shifting both staffing and supplies to meet surge demands, which are currently unprecedented at our testing sites and clinics," said Lisa Lagger, a spokeswoman for Duly Health and Care, formerly DuPage Medical Group. "We remind our communities of the importance of being vaccinated and boosted, and of wearing your mask. We apologize to anyone who is experiencing a long wait time."

National pharmacy chains, such as Walgreens, have warned that it might take days before a spot to get tested is available, and they've begun limiting the number of at-home test kits customers can purchase, if they're in stock at all.

"We put in effect a four-item purchase limit on at-home COVID-19 testing products in our stores and digital properties in an effort to help improve inventory while we continue to work diligently with our supplier partners to best meet customer demands," Walgreens spokeswoman Zoe Krey said.

Late Tuesday, Edward-Elmhurst Health officials announced they were closing walk-in clinics at all locations except Downers Grove and would no longer offer rapid COVID-19 tests at immediate care centers in an effort to consolidate staffing and services needed during this "most recent COVID surge."

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At the state's 10 mass testing sites -- including in Arlington Heights, Aurora and Waukegan -- it won't be until Monday that they become operational six days a week instead of the current four-day schedule in order to meet the demand, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced this week.

A list of testing sites is available on the Illinois Department of Public Health's website, dph.illinois.gov/covid19/testing.

IDPH officials reported Tuesday that more than 15% of the test results returned that day had yielded a new case of COVID-19, the highest single-day case positivity rate in more than a year.

Wheaton officials alerted residents that 520 new cases were diagnosed there from Dec. 19 to 25.

"This is the highest weekly total number of cases in Wheaton since the pandemic started," city officials reported in the alert.

Reditus Laboratories, which handles DuPage County's testing site in Villa Park, reported that demand for testing has exploded, company officials said. Monday, the site handled 706 tests, while it recently had been averaging about 100 a day.

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