Stephens Family YMCA in Champaign, Illinois has announced it will offer free COVID-19 testing to the general public through a partnership with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and SHIELD Illinois.
Members of the community, whether they are showing symptoms or not, can go to portal.shieldillinois.com to make an appointment. The testing site is set to open Sept. 20. Hours will be 6-8 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. Monday through Friday outside at the north pavilion on the YMCA property, 2501 Fields South Drive. Walk-ins are welcome.
Instead of an invasive nasal swab, the covidSHIELD test uses saliva and takes just minutes to collect. Confidential results are known within 24 hours.
“When Covid-19 entered our lives 18 months ago, the Stephens Family YMCA was prepared to do our part to support our community and keep people safe. Two pillars of the YMCA are healthy living and social responsibility. We feel it is our social responsibility to step up when times are tough and when our community needs us the most,” said Jeff Dobrik, the agency’s chief operating officer.
“With kids returning to school and many employees returning to their places of work, the chance of potential exposure increases. So, when we were approached about expanding the University of Illinois’ COVID-19 testing program to a site at the YMCA, we jumped at the chance to partner with SHIELD Illinois and provide quick, free, reliable testing to the public. Our site will operate during times that are convenient for individuals and families to get tested before and after the school or workday. We are committed to this initiative and opportunity to do our part in keeping the Champaign-Urbana community and the public as a whole safe.”
IDPH is using federal funds from the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan to offer free, rapid PCR testing for members of the community through SHIELD Illinois, a nonprofit of the University of Illinois System.
The effort is part of an agreement between the U of I System and the state to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The innovative saliva-based covidSHIELD test detects three genes of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, allowing it to quickly detect the virus that causes COVID-19 and its variants, including among people who do not have symptoms.
Stephens Family YMCA is among more than 1,600 SHIELD Illinois testing sites across Illinois, including K-12 schools, universities, community colleges, businesses and more than a dozen community testing locations.
For more information, contact Jeff Dobrik, Stephens Family YMCA’s COO, at email@example.com; 217-239-2803, or Alex Quigley, SHIELD assistant director of marketing, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 217-333-0387.
To learn more about becoming a community testing site, contact Anna Pinsoneault, SHIELD’s director of Public Health Relationships at email@example.com.