Public health officials report COVID-19 related deaths in Sangamon, Menard counties

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The line for a COVID-19 testing site in the parking lot of the former Shop 'n Save snakes through the lot and out to Chatham Road on Dec. 27. [Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register]
The line for a COVID-19 testing site in the parking lot of the former Shop 'n Save snakes through the lot and out to Chatham Road on Dec. 27. [Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register]

Sangamon County Public Health officials reported two more area COVID-19-related deaths Friday.

There also were 748 new positive cases in Sangamon County bringing the total to 48,526 cases since the pandemic began in March 2020. In Menard County, there were 59 new cases for a total of 3,128.

The Sangamon woman who died Thursday was in her 80s and tested positive on Dec. 27. She had received a vaccine and booster shot. The Menard County man in his 60s was vaccinated but had not received a booster and tested positive Jan. 5. He died Wednesday.

Health officials confirmed the COVID-19 death toll in Sangamon County has reached 334. Thirteen people have died in Menard County.

There were 109 people hospitalized with the virus Friday in Sangamon County and 10 in Menard County.

More: Springfield School District 186 board members confident in schools' COVID precautions

With COVID-19 rates rising, privately-run testing sites have popped up in Illinois and across the country. Some have raised concerns about how the sites operate and the legitimacy of test results.

In a most recent example, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced late Thursday the Center for COVID Control based in Rolling Meadows would shut down operations statewide after complaints ranging from testing results being delayed or not received at all, to results being provided to individuals who were never administered a test, to tests being stored improperly, and staff incorrectly using PPE and face masks.

“Although the company voluntarily suspended operations, my office contacted company officials to demand that the Center for COVID Control immediately stop engaging in any fraudulent or deceptive conduct," Raoul said in a statement.

Gail O’Neill, director of the Sangamon County Department of Public Health, said the privately-run sites are not regulated by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

But not all sites have had problems.

In Springfield, Free COVID Care, a privately-run testing site located in the former Shop ’n Save parking lot at Chatham Road and Wabash Avenue, has administered more than 2,000 rapid and PCR tests in a week, according to Phillip Cocheren, intake coordinator. He said the rapid test results come back the same day and PCR test results take up to nine days.

Still, Raoul recommended people try to use state-run testing sites. Anyone who suspects a testing site is operating fraudulently can file a complaint on the attorney general’s website https://ccformsubmission.ilag.gov/

Where to get a test for COVID-19

Sangamon County Department of Public Health

Located at 2833 South Grand Ave. E., Springfield, drive-through vaccines are offered Monday-Saturday, 8:30-11:30 a.m. Vaccines for children ages 5-11 years old are by appointment only and will not be given through the drive-through site. For information call (217) 321-2606, Monday-Friday, 8:15 a.m.-4:15 p.m. or at https://scdph.org/

Walgreens

Symptoms are not required. The patient performs the nasal swab under the direction of a pharmacy team member. Patients ages 3-18 need a parent or legal guardian while they self-administer the COVID-19 test. Schedule an appointment at https://www.walgreens.com/findcare/covid19/testing

CVS

Patients must be age 3 or older. The patient or patient’s assistant performs nasal swab. Schedule an appointment at https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic

UIS

The saliva-based testing site offers free tests to the public (non-symptomatic individuals who are not isolating due to COVID-19) in partnership with SHIELD Illinois, Results are sent directly to each patient’s (or their guardian's) online SHIELD portal within 12-18 hours of testing. Schedule an appointment at https://www.uis.edu/covid-19/testing/ The testing code is df5brbrj

Memorial Health

People of all ages with symptoms may be tested and evaluated at Memorial UrgentCare locations, Memorial Medical Group primary care (in person and telehealth), and Memorial drive-through testing locations, with a physician order. Schedule an appointment at https://memorial.health/medical-services/covid-19-information

HSHS

People of all ages with symptoms, have been exposed to COVID-19, or need a return-to-work or school test; testing under these conditions is covered by the federal CARES Act (no cost to patient.) Schedule an appointment at https://hshsmgcovidtesting.org/

Springfield Clinic

People of all ages must be seen at Urgent Care or through primary care physician referral; for information go to https://www.springfieldclinic.com/driveuplabs or call (217) 528-7541 extension 18258

This article originally appeared on State Journal-Register: Pop-up testing sites raise concern in Illinois as one operation closes

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