Dear Chicago Residents and Partners,
The roll out of commercial testing has made tests more readily available to people in our city and state. While we would like to see more widespread testing, not everyone needs to be tested. Testing should be prioritized for those who need it most. Because both tests and personal protective equipment for doctors and nurses who perform testing are limited, tests should be saved for healthcare workers and first responders, individuals over age 60 or with underlying health conditions, people living in congregate settings (shelters, jails, nursing homes), and people who are seriously ill and needing hospitalization.
Residents that are experiencing symptoms and are at higher risk should call their health care provider and see if they need to be tested. Health care providers evaluate patients individually and are best positioned to determine whether testing is needed. If health care providers don’t perform testing themselves, they should be able to refer you to a location for testing. For those who don’t have a health care provider or medical insurance, there are approximately 165 community health centers throughout Chicago, so find one that is close to you at findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov. Call ahead and they will work with you to coordinate appropriate care. No patient will be turned away because of inability to pay.
Testing is not currently recommended for people who do not have symptoms, even if they have had contact with someone with COVID-19. Those people are advised to stay home for 14 days and self-monitor for symptoms. Please refer to CDPH’s guidance for individuals who might have been exposed.
For most people, illness is generally mild and can be safely managed at home. If your symptoms are mild and you are not in one of the high risk groups, you will receive the same advice whether you have a test or not. There is no treatment or cure for COVID-19. Most importantly, you must stay home and away from others for at least seven days. Please refer to CDPH’s guidance for individuals who are sick.
Following these testing guidelines will protect healthcare workers and avoid spreading the virus in our communities. Everyone, regardless of whether they have symptoms, should practice social distancing and good hand hygiene.
Stay home. Save lives.