PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — New COVID-19 testing sites are coming to Peoria, and they will be set up in some of the city’s lowest-income areas.
CEO of Heartland Health Services Sharon Adams on Friday told WMBD that each site will hopefully have 150 tests per day.
Adams said the first location at 2321 N Wisconsin Ave, next to the former Kroger, will open Tuesday, April 21. The hours of the clinic will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.
She also said the second location, at the Peoria City/County Health Department, will open April 25. It will be doing weekend hours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Heartland Health Services is partnering with the Peoria Park District for the third location, due to restricted parking at the Heartland at Carver Clinic, will be at John H. Gwynn Jr. Park. This will offer both drive-up and walk-up testing. It will open April 27.
“Anybody can get the collection done with us. The state does require us to bill the insurance, but there is no deductible or copay to the patients, so the patients should be able to get them free,” Adams added.
Adams said these tests are for anyone showing symptoms, people who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, “front-line workers,” like grocery store employees, first responders, etc., and those who may be at high-risk.
State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) said she’s been working directly with Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration for weeks to secure more testing for the area.
“I can tell you that I’ve never been more proud, in my time as a legislature serving this community, than I am today, to know that the work that’s going to be done, not by me, but the healthcare professionals in this community that do this work every day,” Gordon-Booth said Friday. “I’m proud to say that Peoria is ready to stand up a robust testing operation right here in our community.”
On Thursday, Pritzker said there are more testing sites and expansion of testing guidelines coming all over the state.
“We are utilizing our incredible statewide network of Federally Qualified Health Centers to launch new testing locations in communities across Illinois”, Pritzker said. “These new sites will feed specimens to our network of expanded laboratory capacity. We have sites coming online across Chicago, the Collar Counties, Peoria, and Southern Illinois with many more centers expressing interest and working to get their operations up and running.”
Heartland Health Services is a federally-qualified health center.
Peoria NAACP president Marvin Hightower on Wednesday had lobbied for expanded COVID-19 in specific Peoria areas.
“It is clear by the time the most serious symptoms are realized individuals are very sick especially if there are underlying conditions […] that are prevalent in the black community that can become a death sentence,” Hightower said. “I am imploring our leadership in Peoria, reach out and work with whoever they need to work with to advocate for a testing facility in 61603, 61604 or 61605 area as soon as possible.”