The new site opens Wednesday, Dec. 15 in the north parking lot of the Whiteside County Health Department. Anyone wishing to take a test must register in advance.
WHITESIDE COUNTY, Ill. – Testing was one of the first lines of defense for Quad Cities Health Services when COVID-19 first arrived more than a year ago.
Now those health departments have seen COVID-19 cases rise again.
The Whiteside County Health Department reported 78 new cases of the virus on Monday December 13 and 60 new cases on Tuesday December 14, totaling more than 130 new cases in the county in just 48 hours.
As the pandemic progresses, Whiteside County is addressing its first line of defense: testing. The department will open a new COVID-19 testing site on Wednesday, Dec. 15 at the Health Department office in Rock Falls, using the SHIELD test first developed at the University of Illinois.
“With the increase in cases, we are definitely seeing a demand for more testing,” said Cory Law, who works with the Whiteside County Health Department and publishes the daily count of new confirmed COVID-19 cases for the count.
“We’ve definitely seen an increase in cases recently through November, and December still remains elevated, which is concerning,” Law said.
Law explained that this situation is so concerning because other prevention measures are available, such as wearing masks and vaccinations.
The new testing site will use the SHIELD test first developed at the University of Illinois. The saliva test, used statewide, is a PCR test, which means it’s very sensitive, Law said.
Before going to the health department to get tested for COVID-19, you will need to register for a SHIELD Illinois account using the county health department code, which is “df5brbrj”.
“With this account, they can program with us or SHIELD testing sites through Sterling High School or Sauk Valley Community College,” Law said.
If the person who needs a test is under 18, a parent or guardian will need to create an account and then list the child as a dependent in order for that child to receive a test, according to documents provided by the department. of health.
People getting tested should not eat, drink or smoke for at least an hour after the test, according to the department. If possible, brushing your teeth and using mouthwash should also be avoided for the hour before the test.
Test results will be available on the SHIELD Illinois portal, the same location the appointment was made, Law said. Anyone tested before 1 p.m. should receive the results that evening. Results from 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 from Sterling High School.
“We’re just supplementing 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., Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and 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.