COVID-19 testing vital in rural communities in order to stop the spread

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BOONE COUNTY, Ill. (WTVO) — WIth COVID-19 cases rising at a dramatic rate, what can be done to bring the numbers down? We spoke with Boone County health officials who tell us to slow the spread, testing is critical.

COVID-19 positivity rates surge across Illinois and Region 1. The effects are especially being felt in Boone County, where the rate hit 31% Tuesday.

“Rural communities are relying very heavily on these drive-thru temporary sites,” said Amanda Mehl, the Boone County Public Health Administrator.

Mehl says that partnering with the state to host free COVID-19 testing opportunities is vital to slowing the spread.

“We’re not a large metropolitan area, we’re not a city where we would have necessarily the opportunity to have our own permanent community-based testing site,” she explained.

Temporary sites are offered through the county, with some testing upwards of 180 residents per day. While long wait times are inevitable, Mehl says there are other testing options to supplement pop-ups.

“First and foremost, there’s always the option to work through your primary care provider. Some clinics are able to offer testing at this time, some clinics don’t have that capacity,” Mehl said.

In addition to visiting their doctor or Belvidere’s Physicians Immediate Care for a rapid test, residents also have the option to head to permanent testing sites at Crusader Community Health and the UIC campus in Rockford.

“Both of those sites see large numbers of Boone County residents on a daily basis, and we’ve had really good success partnering with them,” Mehl added.”And then really to supplement, but also augment that, we want to bring these temporary, free, drive-thru COVID testing sites to Boone County.

Click here for a complete list of testing sites in Boone County.

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