What you need to know if you need a COVID test before the holidays - NBC Chicago

Cupertino, December 23, 2021

COVID test sites are in high demand as the holidays approach and cases grow in Chicago and Illinois - and this trend is expected to continue even after the holidays.

Wednesday's lines stretched out of many locations, both in the city and in the suburbs, and travel places reported longer-than-normal waiting times.

Amita Health says it performs 3,000 tests a week, twice as many as last summer, and Northwestern Medicine said it saw a 23 percent increase in tests at its immediate care units.

Even home tests, such as those found in pharmacies, are becoming increasingly difficult to find.

Walgreens reported this week that there was an "unprecedented demand" for testing and imposed a four-item purchase limit for COVID home test kits in stores and online. He warned of the temporary lack of such tests at many stores.

Similarly, CVS has set a limit of six test kits per purchase, NBC News reported.

"We continue to provide access to laboratory tests with results available in 1-2 days or to rapid tests for COVID-19 at more than 4,800 CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide," the company said in a statement.

CNBC reported that Amazon will not allow its buyers to buy more than 10 of its home test kits on Wednesday. A spokesman said the company was facing a shortage of stocks for some tests due to increased demand.

To address potential supply shortfalls after the Christmas and New Year holidays, President Joe Biden announced that his administration has purchased half a billion COVID fast home tests, which will be available next month and mailed to Americans. .

"We'll get this test for Americans for free, and we'll have websites where you can deliver it home," Biden said in an address Tuesday.

Pop-up test sites are reported before the holidays to cope with growing demand.

In section 14 in Chicago, a free "COVID-19 nasal test" will be available Thursday for residents from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Those wishing to be tested can go to 10402 S. Western Ave. and the results will be emailed within 48 hours.

In Kane County, several appointments were available at the Kane Vax Hub through January.

Dr. Michael Daignault, emergency physician and chief medical officer for Reliant Health Services, said testing is a critical multi-pronged approach that residents can use to stay safe during the holidays.

"Nothing is 100%, but if we put all the layers together, including vaccination, testing and good ventilation in the places where you gather, I think that's the best thing we can do," he said.

However, the top Illinois physician warned against overconfidence following a negative COVID test before the holidays.

"I know a lot of tests are being done because people are trying to be safe," she told NBC on Wednesday. "They are not trying to expose their loved ones, their vulnerable loved ones, the elderly, the immunocompromised, so they are trying to be tested by trying to know their condition. I want to warn people that when they do those quick tests. , this only gives you a snapshot for that day. So even if you're negative one day, that doesn't mean you couldn't make a conversion the next day or the next, so for those extended stays with family members, you know, you need to keep testing whether you're going that way. . But of course be vaccinated, wear a mask if you're not sure, you haven't had a chance to test and you know, you want to add that extra layer of protection for someone who is very vulnerable. "

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