Public Health

Where and How to Get Tested for Coronavirus COVID-19 in Chicago, IL?

Khang T. Vuong13 May 2020

Quick Digest

  • As of May 12th 2020, confirmed cases of coronavirus in Chicago reach 32,595 and 83,021 in the state of Illinois.
  • Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) is advising self-screening before determining your actions if sick.
  • Gov JB Pritzker issued a stay at Home order for Illinois extended to 30 April or longer.
  • Only those defined as at-risk receive access to testing - arrangements need to be made via a healthcare provider and doctor assessment.
  • Stay hopeful, it's going to get better!

Live Update April 6th, Chicago, Illinois: The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise in the city of Chicago, with 1,006 new diagnoses today. The news comes off the back of the announcement that the first-ever recorded COVID-19-related death of an infant was recorded in the city. Those infected range in age from infants to individuals older than 100-years-old.

Chicago Department of Public Health Advisory & Latest News

In response to the growing number of cases and subsequent deaths (43 at the time of writing), the state has extended its Stay at Home order until at least April 30th.

City government recommends that all residents operate a policy of social distancing by staying home as much as possible, and by remaining at least six feet away from other individuals when in public. Additionaly, both public and private gatherings of over 10 people are prohibited until April 30th.

Those who suffer symptoms have been asked to self-isolate for at least seven days since your symptoms first appeared and at least three days after recovery. Symptoms have been defined as:

  • Fever
  • Dry coughing
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath (difficult breathing in).

Recovery means having no fever and no other noticeable symptoms after previously displaying some or all of the above. Self-isolation means you should stay at home and avoid all social interaction if possible.

CDPH advises that you should wear a cloth mask if you leave home, when if you are not experiencing symptoms. It is important to note that wearing a cloth mask is not a replacement for social distancing. You should not wear a facemask meant for healthcare workers. Note: children under two and indivudals who have difficulty breathing should not wear a cloth face mask. You should only contact a doctor if you display symptoms associated with the virus.

What are the criteria for testing?

The CDPH is keen to stress that if you're not at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, you do not need to be evaluated in person, and you do not need to be tested for COVID-19. This is true even if you display mild symptoms associated with the virus. Testing does not make you feel better because there is no treatment if you test positive. Test kits are being preserved for health care workers are they need to be confirmed negative for returning to work.

Only those in high-risk groups are given priority for COVID-19 testing. They include:

  • Those over the age of 60
  • Those who are pregnant
  • Those who have underlying health conditions

Always screen yourself first and do it periodically

Even if you display symptoms and you are not in the high-risk groups mentioned above, you will not be eligible for a COVID-19 test. The CDPH has issued a self-screening questionnaire to determine testing, which is as follows:

  • Question 1: Are you having symptoms like fever, cough, or difficulty breathing?
    If YES: Please answer Question #2.
    If NO: Testing is not needed. If you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, stay home, and monitor symptoms for 14 days.
  • Question 2: Are your symptoms severe?
    If YES: Call your doctor or 911.
    If NO: Please answer Question #3.
  • Question 3: Are you over 60? And/or do you have an underlying medical condition like diabetes, cancer, or heart disease?
    If YES: Contact your doctor to determine if testing is needed.
    IF NO: Testing is not needed. Stay home for seven days from symptom onset and 72 hours after the fever is gone, and symptoms improve (whichever is longer) to avoid getting anyone else sick.

Where are the COVID-19 Testing Centers in Chicago?

If you have been determined by your healthcare provider to meet the criteria for testing, you will be advised that you need to have an in-person visit with a doctor at a testing center or a drive through. The on-site doctor will then assess your risk and determine your eligibility for a COVD-19 test.

Remember, you will only receive a test if you fall within an at-risk group, even if you are suffering from unpleasant symptoms associated with the coronavirus.

The city of Chicago has identified 6 new testing centers where residents of the city who meet certain screening criteria can get tested for free. Pre-registration at these centers is strongly recommended. You may register here.

  • Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy: 2850 W 24th Blvd, Chicago, IL 6062. Opens May 13th for testing of symptomatic residents. Testing is drive-through and walk up.
  • Guaranteed Rate Field Lot G: 333 W 35th St, Chicago, IL 60616. Opens May 14th for testing of Asymptomatic first responders, healthcare and other essential workers. Testing is drive-through.
  • Dr. Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy: 2231 N Central Ave, Chicago, IL 60639. Opens May 15th for testing of symptomatic residents. Testing is drive-through and walk up.
  • Kennedy-King College: 6301 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60621. Opening date TBD for testing of symptomatic residents. Testing is drive-through and walk up.
  • Senka Park: 5656 S St Louis Ave, Chicago, IL 60629. Opening date TBD for testing of symptomatic residents. Testing is drive-through and walk up.
  • Gately Park: 744 E 103rd St, Chicago, IL 60628. Opening date TBD for testing of symptomatic residents. Testing is drive-through and walk up.

Here is a list of other testing sites in Chicago that may incur a fee. Remember to call your healthcare provider first, if they deem that you are at risk, they will direct you to one of the following medical centers and testing sites:

  • Roseland Community Hospital
    45 West 111th Street
    Chicago, IL
  • NorthShore University HealthSystem's Evanston Hospital
    2650 Ridge Ave
    Evanston, IL 60201
    (847) 570-2000
  • Illinois National Guard testing facility
    6959 Forest Preserve Drive
    Chicago, IL 60634
  • Edward-Elmhurst Health Corporate Center
    4201 Winfield Rd
    Warrenville, IL 60555
    (331) 221-8000
  • Walmart Northlake
    137 W North Ave
    Northlake, IL 60164
    (708) 409-0049
  • Walmart Joliet
    2424 W Jefferson St
    Joliet, IL 60435
    (815) 744-7575
  • Midwest Express Clinic Chicago - Mt. Greenwood
    3258 W 111th Street
    Chicago, IL 60655
    (773) 629-8217
  • Midwest Express Clinic Chicago - Roscoe Village
    3301 N. Ashland Ave
    Chicago, IL 60657
    (312) 429-572
  • Midwest Express Clinic Bourbonnais
    2070 N, IL-50 #500
    Bourbonnais, IL 60914
    (779) 236-409
  • Midwest Express Clinic Willowbrook
    40 75th Street
    Willowbrook, IL 60527
    (630) 581-5372
  • Midwest Express Clinic Crown Point
    5521 Lincoln Hwy #1a
    Crown Point, IN 46307
    (219) 769-136
  • Midwest Express Clinic Munster
    8135 Calumet Ave
    Munster, IN 46321
    (219) 513-200
  • Midwest Express Clinic Schererville
    1500 US-41
    Schererville, IN 46375
    (219) 440-7373
Drive-through testing sites

What to Expect During Your COVID-19 Testing Procedure?

Upon arriving at a test center, you will be evaluated as to whether you require testing. If you do subsequently need a test, the procedure will consist of a clinician taking one upper respiratory tract specimen, and only if possible, a lower respiratory tract specimen.

The upper respiratory tract specimen is produced via a nasopharyngeal swab, which is taken via a long swab that extends right to the top of the nose (to the nasopharynx). They may or may not take an additional throat swab (at the site of your tonsillar pillars). For the lower respiratory tract specimen, a clinician will ask you to cough enough to produce a sample of sputum. If this is not possible, the nasal and throat swab will suffice for the purposes of the laboratory tests.

The Nasopharyngeal swab could feel very uncomfortable for some

How Long Will It Take For Results To Come Back?

Results take three to five business days to arrive back, after which you should call to follow up and receive the outcome if you have not yet been contacted. You can read one Chicago resident’s experience here, although please note that testing has become much more organized since the publication of this article

The CDPH has stressed that those who at defined as at-risk and in need of testing will receive the test regardless of the ability to pay or insurance coverage. However, as in the story of the gentleman above, he was advised that he would be sent a medical bill in the post. Make sure to check with your healthcare provider to make sure you aren’t liable for any costs related to COVI-19 testing.

What are Some of the Restrictions Related to Coverage?

While a national covenant has protected the cost of testing, any subsequent treatment thereafter has not. Therefore, if you think you may struggle with payments relating to your COVID-19 treatment, you are urged to visit your nearest community health center

There are over 165 such centers in Chicago, and the full list of locations can be found by using this link

Healthcare Can Be Confusing, Here Are More Resources:


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