New COVID-19 testing site opens in 2nd Ward

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Courtesy of Erie Family Health Center

Inside the Erie Evanston/Skokie Health Center. The city’s third testing site is at a health center with predominantly low-income patients.

Sneha Dey, City Editor

A health care center in Evanston’s 2nd Ward is now conducting COVID-19 tests, the latest effort to support minority communities in the fight against coronavirus.

Erie Evanston/Skokie Health Center, located at 1285 Hartrey Ave., is the city’s third coronavirus testing site. The clinic joins existing sites NorthShore Evanston Hospital and AMITA Health Saint Francis Hospital.

Erie only offers tests to established patients. About 98 percent of the center’s patients are low-income and 15 percent are uninsured, according to a news release.

Patients are eligible for a test if they have COVID-19 symptoms, have come into contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case or are immunocompromised. Erie patients can also schedule appointments if they serve as first responders or work in high-risk spaces, according to Illinois Department of Health guidelines.

Upon taking a COVID-19 test, patients can expect follow-up telehealth appointments, according to Karelle Webb, Erie’s infection control officer. Providers will offer those who test positive support with food, housing and emotional distress.

In Evanston, and across Illinois, minority communities have been disproportionately hit by COVID-19. On April 10, the state health department pledged to expand testing to communities of color.

“We will not stand idly by while one segment of the population bears an unfortunate heightened burden of this disease,” IDPH director Ngozi Ezike said at a press briefing. “Testing must be increased among the disproportionately affected populations.”

Over the past several weeks, Erie Family Health Center has been working closely with the state department and commercial laboratories to develop testing capabilities. On Monday, Evanston/Skokie site was one of Erie’s three urgent care centers to go live with COVID-19 testing, according to Webb.

As of Thursday afternoon, officials report 70,873 confirmed cases in Illinois and 436 cases in the city of Evanston.

“It’s going to have a huge impact,” said Ald. Peter Braithwaite (2nd). “The impact to the black and brown community is great…that is exactly the target population Erie serves.”

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Twitter: @snehadey_

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