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Amid COVID-19 case influx, Whiteside Co. opens new SHIELD testing site

The new site opens Wednesday, Dec. 15 in the north parking lot of the Whiteside County Health Department. Anyone wanting a test must register in advance.

WHITESIDE COUNTY, Ill. — Testing was one of the first lines of defense for Quad Cities health departments when COVID-19 first arrived more than a year ago.

Now, those health departments have seen COVID-19 cases increase once again. 

The Whiteside County Health Department reported 78 new virus cases on Monday, Dec. 13, and 60 new cases on Tuesday, Dec. 14, totaling more than 130 new cases in the county in just 48 hours.

As the pandemic pushes forward, Whiteside County is leaning back on its first line of defense: testing. The department will open a new COVID-19 testing site Wednesday, Dec. 15 at the health department's office in Rock Falls, using the SHIELD test first developed at the University of Illinois.

"With the increase in cases, we definitely see a demand for more testing," Cory Law, who works with the Whiteside County Health Department and publishes the daily numbers of new, confirmed COVID-19 cases for the county, said.

"We've definitely seen an uptick of cases recently through November, and December is still remaining high, which is concerning," Law said.

Law explained this situation has been so concerning because other prevention measures are available, like wearing masks and getting vaccinated.

The new testing site will utilize the SHIELD test first developed at the University of Illinois. The saliva test, used across the state, is a PCR test, meaning it is very sensitive, Law said.

Before you go to the health department to get tested for COVID-19, you will need to sign up for a SHIELD Illinois account using the county health department's code, which is "df5brbrj".

"With that account, they can schedule with us or the SHIELD testing sites through Sterling High School or Sauk Valley Community College," Law said.

If the person needing a test is under the age of 18, a parent or guardian will need to create an account and then list the child as a dependent for that child to receive a test, according to documents provided by the health department.

People receiving a test should not eat, drink or smoke within at least one hour of the test, according to the department. If possible, brushing teeth and using mouthwash should also be avoided for the one hour prior to the test.

Test results will be available on the SHIELD Illinois portal, the same place where the appointment was made, Law said. Anyone tested before 1 p.m. should receive results that night. Results for anyone tested after 1 p.m. should be available the following night.

For months, there has been a SHIELD testing site just across the Rock River at Sterling High School.

"We're just kind of supplementing the other testing options in our area," Law said.

The Whiteside County testing site will be open Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

You do not need to be a resident of Whiteside County to use this service.

Today we are saddened to announce 1 death (60s) and 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Whiteside County. (23)Under 20, (7)20s,...

Posted by Whiteside_CHC on Tuesday, December 14, 2021

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