Ogle County residents will soon have a chance for a convenient COVID-19 test.
And for some, it will be right in their town.
Aunt Martha’s Health & Wellness will be sending a mobile testing unit to Forreston, Mt. Morris and Polo later this month. There is no out-of-pocket cost for the test, regardless of ability to pay. COVID-19 symptoms are not required to get tested. There is no doctor’s note needed.
“They reached out to us,” Ogle County Health Department Public Administrator Kyle Auman said. “They have federal grant money to improve testing in rural areas. We want to keep testing at a high level. We’re trying to reach areas of Ogle County that aren’t as close to Rochelle Community Hospital and KSB. We’re trying to do more dates to have them available.”
The mobile testing unit will be in Forreston on Sept. 21 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at 102 S. 1st Ave. Later that day, it will be in Mt. Morris from 2-4 p.m. at 2 W. Main St. It will be in Polo on Sept. 28 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at 212 S. Division Ave.
Those who want to get tested can call 708-747-7441 to reserve the mobile unit at their location. People can be tested regardless of their home address.
“It’s free of charge,” Auman said. “You just have to fill out a questionnaire. At hospitals or other places it can cost up to $300, but most places bill insurance.”
Auman said he’s not sure what the demand will be for tests or how many people will be tested. The unit will be prepared for over 100 tests per site.
The OCHD worked recently to get a state testing site in the county, but those talks fell through. The mobile testing site is the department’s effort to get more tests done. KSB Hospital in Dixon has done over 80 tests in a day at high points. Rochelle has also had “max out” days.
“We’re definitely seeing an increase in tests,” Auman said. “We’re doing well compared to other rural counties around us. We’re seeing an increase in cases. Tuesday we had 20. Last week we had three double digit days. It’s definitely a concern with increased cases and people need to be using those mitigating tactics.”
Auman said the OCHD has been receiving less complaints about businesses since the state implemented a rule that requires patrons to mask when interacting with servers.
Working with now-open schools has presented new challenges for the OCHD. As of Wednesday, there were 282 students and 12 school employees under observation and three positive cases linked to county schools. It has also created a heavy workload of contact tracing.
“Our goal is to work at the lowest possible level of getting potential exposures out,” Auman said. “We don’t want to even wipe out full classrooms and we haven’t had to yet. But I can’t say that it won’t close a whole school.”