On Friday afternoon, fifteen cars lined up in the Sangamon County Department of Public Health parking lot, their drivers or passengers waiting to get tested for COVID-19.
The site is set to close Sunday, according to a spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Public Health – which runs the site. The mobile testing unit will move to Hillsboro, next to the Montgomery County Public Health Department, on Monday.
Sangamon County Director of Public Health Gail O’Neill said she’s disappointed with the move and is worried about gap in services it leaves.
“With them leaving, we are left with a concern about how to test children, anybody under 18,” O’Neill said. “And it seems like it's going to leave a gap in our community, right when we're seeing a rise in positivity.”
Last week the test positivity rate was 2.7%, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s county metrics tracker. The week before it was 1.6%, and .8% the week before that.
O’Neill said some children and young teenagers have been among the dozens of new cases in recent weeks.
The IDPH site is the only one in Springfield that offers screening of children with or without symptoms. The state health department took over testing there at the end of June when SIU Medicine closed its operation.
A spokesman for IDPH says the mobile units are designed to help many areas of the state, and generally move to a new location each week.
COVID-19 testing is still available at the South Grand Avenue location on Saturday and Sunday starting at 9 a.m. until testing supplies last. Free testing is also available for adults over 18 at the former Walgreens on North Ninth Street. More information is on their website.
Anyone with symptoms or who has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 can be screened at the Memorial Medical Center clinic at 2950 S. Sixth Street. For appointments, call 217-588-4019.
O’Neill said the county health department is working with local medical groups to increase testing availability locally.
She said more than 1,500 people had been screened at the IDPH site this week through Thursday.