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High Demand For COVID-19 Testing at New Peoria Screening Site

Tim Shelley / Peoria Public Radio
A sign directing people to the COVID-19 testing site set up in the old Kroger parking lot on Wisconsin Ave. in Peoria's East Bluff neighborhood.

Peoria's first expanded COVID-19 site saw a high influx of patients on day one. Peoria City/County Health Department administrator Monica Hendrickson said 135 of 150 tests were used at the Heartland Health Services East Bluff clinic as of 2:45 p.m., with just over an hour left to go before the first day wrapped up.

Total test supply is subject to fluctuation based on demand, however.

"You might not be seen in one day, but definitely come back the next. We want to make sure we get as many people as possible tested," Hendrickson said.  Tests are supplied by the state, which helped open the three Peoria sites in response to concerns of inadequate testing for underserved populations.

She said the majority of patients used the drive-up service set up in the old Kroger parking lot. Walk-up testing is also available. The 2321 N. Wisconsin Ave. testing site is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. No appointment is necessary, but there are certain testing criteria that must be met.

A second testing site goes online this Saturday at the health department, 2116 N. Sheridan Rd. A third opens at John Gwynn Park next week.

Hendrickson said healthcare workers at the testing sites have enough protective items like masks and gloves, but there is a need for more of one type of item, looking ahead.

"Gowns are actually one of the ones that we're looking to get more of. We don't need it next week, but again, as we start planning further along," she said." And I think that's the important thing to note. The order ends in April, but we want to keep planning as long as we can for this."

Heartland Health Services and the University of Peoria College of Medicine Peoria are staffing the testing sites.

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