COVID-19 testing site to open at DePaul’s Loop campus

The site will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., in the DePaul Center, 333 S. State St.

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Attorney Patrick Berning-O’Neill, 32, of the Hyde Park neighborhood, submits a saliva sample to test for COVID-19 at a free community testing site in the lobby of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse, Wednesday morning, Jan. 12, 2022.

Attorney Patrick Berning-O’Neill, 32, of the Hyde Park neighborhood, submits a saliva sample to test for COVID-19 at a free community testing site in the lobby of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse, last week. The Dirksen site is operated by SHIELD Illinois, which is opening another free, public testing site Thursday at the DePaul University campus in the Loop.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Looking for a COVID-19 test? A new public testing site is set to launch Thursday on DePaul University’s Loop campus.

The site, operated by SHIELD Illinois, will be open 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays on the lower level of the DePaul Center, 333 S. State St., according to the University of Illinois. The tests are free.

SHIELD Illinois is the University of Illinois’ non-profit COVID-19 testing initiative.

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Including the DePaul site, SHIELD Illinois runs three testing sites in Chicago. Others are at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse, 219 S. Dearborn St., and Northeastern Illinois University. The Dirksen Courthouse is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The DePaul site is “intended to complement the testing hours at the Dirksen Courthouse, giving people a nearby option for testing in the evening,” U. of I. spokesman Ben Taylor said.

Northeastern Illinois’ site, 5500 N. St Louis Ave., is open 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The SHIELD sites offer PCR tests and use a saliva sample, not a nasal swab. Individuals can’t eat, drink, smoke or chew gum for an hour before the test. The tests are self-administered and provide results within 24 hours.

“Our team continues to provide a great public service, sending results approximately 13 hours after a person provides their sample, on average,” SHIELD Illinois managing director Ron Watkins said in the statement.

These tests were developed by U. of I. researchers and gained emergency-use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in February 2021.

The sites are funded by the Chicago and Illinois public health departments.

DePaul University does not have a testing requirement for students, but offers additional testing services restricted to faculty, staff and students.

This new site is opening as SHIELD Illinois ups its testing capacity with a new lab at the University of Illinois Chicago campus. That lab has the capacity to process 55,000 PCR tests per week.

NOTE: This story has been updated based on new corrected information provided by a spokesperson for SHIELD.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, SHIELD Illinois and the Chicago Department of Public Health host three a free COVID-19 community testing sites in Chicago, including one in the lobby of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, SHIELD Illinois and the Chicago Department of Public Health host a free COVID-19 community testing sites in Chicago in the lobby of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

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