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Illinois expanding COVID-19 testing access

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the expansion on Monday, which includes more access to vaccines and testing.

MOLINE, Ill. — The state of Illinois is expanding its response to rising COVID-19 cases across the state. This expansion includes more access to vaccines, booster shots and testing.

"Once again this pandemic is surging," said Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

On Monday, Gov. Pritzker announced the state will be adding at least 100 personnel at regional vaccine sites.

The governor also announced increasing availability of COVID-19 testing by 50 percent at 10 locations, expanding testing from four days per week to six.

"In the coming days, we will also provide some additional support to local health departments around the state to increase their testing capacity and availability," Gov. Pritzker said.

None of the testing sites are in the Quad Cities area, according to a list provided by the Pritzker Administration. 

The state run testing sites are in Aurora, Arlington Heights, South Holland, Fairview Heights, Peoria, Bloomington, Champaign, Harwood Heights, Rockford and Waukegan.

Testing access in the Quad Cities area will remain the same -- a zero percent increase.

"We would love for the state to put a site here," Janet Hill said, the chief operating officer with the Rock Island County Health Department.

However, Hill does not see that happening.

"As someone who's lived in the Illinois Quad Cities for a long time now, the Quad Cities kind of get forgotten when you're looking at state-wide assets," Hill said.

The state of Illinois did have some pop-up testing sites in the Quad Cities region, like at the TaxSlayer Center, when the pandemic first began, but there has not been a permanent solution.

"Getting that test and having it readily available would be a wonderful asset to have in the community," Hill said.

The next closest testing sites to the Quad Cities are in Peoria and Rockford, which are both about 100 miles away one-way from the metro Illinois Quad Cities.

"I wish we did have one here, but the state has shown no ability to have one here full-time," Hill said.

Pritzker said the state is utilizing a staffing contract with a third-party company to provide the additional staff.

The governor said he has asked the Biden Administration for Army medical personnel to help with this latest surge of cases and hospitalizations. Gov. Pritzker said the state has not received that assistance yet.

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