Coronavirus response | Free community testing site opens on UI campus | Coronavirus
URBANA — A free community COVID-19 saliva testing site is up and running inside a University of Illinois recreational facility.
SHIELD Illinois, an initiative which uses federal funds to spread the UI’s saliva-based PCR tests statewide, has opened a new weekday clinic at the Campus Recreation Center East on 1102 W. Gregory Drive.
Testing is available for everyone, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Appointments are encouraged through the link shieldillinois.com/get-tested, but walk-ins are accepted.
Since the site opened on Monday, more than 100 people have gotten their results, said SHIELD Illinois spokesman Ben Taylor.
“That’s pretty high traffic at this point at the pandemic,” he said. “It’s one of those times of the year where you don’t know what you have — whether it’s allergies or something else.”
Test results return within a day; the typical turnaround is 12 to 13 hours. Patients can opt to receive their results via text, email or through the SHIELD Illinois app.
Testers can enter the site, which uses a multipurpose room inside CRCE, by following the signs on the east side of the building facing Allen Hall. Face coverings are required.
The CRCE location is the 13th community testing site helmed by SHIELD Illinois, Taylor said. The organization also runs COVID-19 testing for more than 600 K-12 schools this year.
SHIELD Illinois previously ran a testing site from the Stephens Family YMCA until the end of June. SHIELD CU, the UI’s testing partnership with OSF Healthcare, administered tests from CRCE until May, and from Parkland College until June.
“We started talking with campus leadership about what do we need to do and where testing can be placed, and they were able to find the space in CRCE,” Taylor said. “We felt like we heard from a lot of community members over the last couple months that they wanted a site in town, that they want to be able to get a test when they need one.”
The Illinois Department of Public Health distributes funds from funds from the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan to keep the free testing going.
“Public access to COVID-19 testing is an important mitigation strategy,” said Julie Pryde, the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District’s public health administrator. “Sites like this play a vital role in the fight to keep our community safer by minimizing the potential for COVID-19 outbreaks.”
Disclaimer: Unvaccinated University of Illinois students and staff can’t use the CRCE community site to fulfill their once-a-week campus testing requirement. They must test at the Illini Union.
On Monday morning, there were 273 active cases of COVID-19 in Champaign County, including 16 hospitalizations for the disease. Champaign County has confirmed more than 80,000 cases of the virus since the pandemic began.