Community colleges across the state now have the ability to provide the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s saliva-based COVID-19 test at no cost to any state resident who wants one.
The testing will be funded through an agreement between the Illinois Department of Public Health and SHIELD Illinois, the University of Illinois System unit that is deploying the test throughout the state.
Under the agreement, the state’s 49 community colleges can test their own students and staff, and can choose to serve as community testing sites where any Illinois resident can get a free test.
There are currently five active SHIELD Illinois community testing sites – Black Hawk College in Galva, Heartland Community College in Normal, Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, and Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon – with more in development.
The agreement is being funded with money the state received through the federal CARES ACT and the American Rescue Plan.
UIUC’s saliva-based COVID-19 PCR test has held the virus in check at the U of I System’s three universities thanks to widespread testing with rapid results. The test, known as covidSHIELD, was granted emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in February.