State closing community-based testing locations March 31 citing low demand, end of federal funding

Sites are now seeing about 50 people per day, state officials said. And there's a stockpile of tests in case of another surge, they added.

File photo. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid
File photo. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid

State-run testing sites now account for less than 1% of all testing statewide, state officials recently said, and now it’s time to close them.

Citing a decline in demand for testing and an anticipated end to federal funding in April, all 10 community-based testing locations across the state will close Thursday, March 31.

Officials from the Illinois State Department of Public Health made the announcement last Thursday, noting that testing at the sites are at lows, with sites seeing no more than 50 people a day, according to IDPH data.

The move comes as federal COVID-19 funding is held up in a Congressional impasse and the BA.2 subvariant spreads quickly. As of March 19, BA.2 accounts for nearly 35% of COVID-19 cases nationwide, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The State is currently strongly positioned to respond to a potential surge, with the State stockpile of tests nearly fully replenished. There are more than 1.5 million rapid tests on hand, with a half a million more on the way in the coming weeks,” officials said in a news release.

“The State has also instructed hospitals, schools, and local health departments to consider their current testing capacity and take all preparations necessary. The State is also in communication with pharmacies and healthcare providers about increasing their inventory of the various FDA-approved oral BA.2 treatments in case of another surge,” officials added.

COVID-19 by the numbers across the state:

– The Illinois State Department of Public Health on Friday reported 8,039 new and confirmed COVID-19 cases across Illinois since March 18. That’s up about 8% from when officials reported 7,467 cases between March 11 and March 18.

– Of Illinois’ total population, 76% have received 1 dose of vaccine, 68% are fully vaccinated, and 50% are boosted, according to data from the CDC.

– As of Sunday night, there are 461 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those, 59 are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and 31 are on ventilators.

– The preliminary state case positivity rate between March 18 and March 24 is 1.5%.

Sign up for The Renaissance Letter, our free email newsletter

Get the latest headlines from the Harvey World Herald right in your inbox.

Read past editions

More in Health from The Harvey World Herald