Chicago Department of Public Health strives to make rapid home COVID testing free and accessible

CHICAGO (WLS) – Behind the CVS front counter is home COVID testing. Priced at $ 23.99 a box, they’re selling fast as a popular pre-Thanksgiving product.

“These are antigen tests, so when people have symptoms and they have a certain level of virus, they will be positive,” said Dr. Nimmi Rajagopal, of Cook County Health Family & Community Medicine.

With results in 15 minutes, doctors said rapid home tests are great tools for determining if a person is contagious.

“So if you’re about to have Thanksgiving dinner, especially if you’re not vaccinated, it’s a good idea to test yourself that day just before you get together with your friends and family,” he said. said Dr. Jennifer Seo, medical director of the Chicago Department of Public Health.

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And if time permits, doctors advise people, especially the unvaccinated, to have a PCR test first, followed by the home test. Although it takes a few days to get the results, the PCR test is still the test required to travel to some countries.

“It’s more sensitive, so it’s better for screening someone who isn’t showing symptoms,” Dr Rajagopal said.

Medical experts say if you have symptoms and are worried about being contagious, the home test is the one to take.

While other countries, like Britain and Germany, offer free take-home tests, the CRPD works to make testing free and accessible.

RELATED: Chicago Heights Woman Once Hesitant About COVID Vaccine Helps Coordinate Vaccination Clinic

“We have distributed home tests to community clinics and aldermanic offices to increase access across town,” said Dr Seo.

If you have symptoms and your home test turns negative, doctors want to remind people that it could be the flu, which is also very contagious.

Cook County marked a grim milestone on Wednesday as the medical examiner further confirmed the 12,000 people have died from COVID-19 within 20 months since the county’s first fatality.

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