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IDPH expands COVID-19 testing in schools for K-12 students

Demand increased for testing after 70% of schools part of the agreement signed up on Aug. 1
File Photo (CREDIT: AP)
File Photo (CREDIT: AP)(Lynne Sladky | AP)
Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 3:14 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WIFR) - The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), in partnership with the U.S. Health and Human Services announced they will add more COVID-19 testing to make access to it easier for K-12 students.

The U.S. Health and Human Services’ Midwest COVID-19 Testing Coordination Center (MCC) will offer testing for all public and private schools that want a testing program.

In April 2021, the IDPH reported 75% of Illinois public school districts outside of Chicago can get free COVID-19 testing through the SHIELD Illinois program. All schools became eligible in July. More than 400 schools (300 public, 100 private) offer testing through the district’s agreement with SHIELD Illinois. Demand increased for testing after 70% of schools part of the agreement signed up on Aug. 1.

“SHIELD Illinois contracted with the state and built a system for 300,000 in-school tests per week, but current demand far exceeds that,” SHIELD Illinois Managing Director Ron Watkins says. “We are excited to partner with the federally funded MCC to add capacity and speed access to testing for students across Illinois.”

More than 1 million tests at various schools statewide thanks to SHIELD Illinois have helped prevent the spread of COVID-19 by isolating those who may be infected by the virus.

Schools looking to sign up can go here for more information.

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