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Drive-through COVID-19 testing site launches in Rock Island

The testing is available to all Illinois residents for free and regardless of symptoms.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — A COVID-19 drive-through testing site is being launched in Rock Island and will offer testing to any Illinois resident, regardless of symptoms. 

The site will be available from Thursday, September 17 through Sunday, September 20 at the QCCA Expo Center.  This is a state-operated drive-through site and no appointment or doctor referral is needed.

RELATED: Rock Island County no longer at a warning level for coronavirus

To be tested, stay in the car, seated at a working window. Once you're in line for testing you will not be allowed to get out of your car.  There will be walk-up testing services offered; instructions for that service will be provided at the test site.

According to a statement from the Rock Island County Health Department, anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 is encouraged to be tested. That includes fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, fatigue, muscle aches or body aches, headache, sore throat, runny nose, congestion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or new loss of taste or smell. 

The testing is free, but those with insurance will be asked to provide their insurance card.

The testing site is a joint effort between the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Rock Island County Emergency Management Agency, the QCCA Expo Center and the Rock Island County Health Department. 

Chief Operating Officer with the Rock Island County Health Department, Janet Hill, says the site is only open through the weekend because the state team running it is bouncing across Illinois hosting similar tests. The department is advocating for a full-time testing site in the area.

"For the first time in a while, we're actually hearing that the state is understanding that the Quad Cities a real spot," Hill says. "Iowa has among the highest positivity rates in the country, and we have just over 2,700 cases in Rock Island County. And Scott County is right there with us." 

Hill says with more widespread testing, it's possible to keep the positivity rate low and keep the county away from reaching a warning level again.  

"One of the metrics for warning level is positivity rate, and the more tests we have, there's the potential the positivity rate will go down because of more people testing negative," she says. "When you don't have easy access to testing, that means the people who are sickest and showing symptoms are the one getting tested more frequently, so the positivity rate rises."