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La Salle County Health Department begins drive-thru testing

Agency conducts 15 tests on first day

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The La Salle County Health Department had a fully booked schedule its first day for drive-thru COVID-19 testing, and it went off without a hitch.

Health care workers were able to conduct 15 tests from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the La Salle County Governmental Complex, with more scheduled for Thursday and more appointments available next Wednesday.

“Being that it was our first time doing it, we wanted to make sure it was going to run smoothly and we didn’t have any hiccups,” said Leslie Dougherty, health educator and public information officer at La Salle County Health Department. “(Wednesday) went very well, and we want to add more people to the schedule and have a much shorter time frame.”

People who schedule an appointment pull onto the gravel road just past the La Salle County Governmental Complex on Etna Road in Ottawa and follow it until they pull into a building in back. Those getting tested don't leave the car; instead, they roll down their vehicle window for the nurses to administer the test.

Patients must be seated at a functioning window.

Dougherty said the test they perform is a nasal swab, not "the big long stick that pokes back through the nostril." Nurses stick the swab into each nostril for about 15 seconds and circle the nostril about three times.

The health department currently has 24 appointments scheduled Thursday and still is accepting appointments. More tests will be conducted on Wednesday, June 24 – appointments can be made by calling 815-433-3366.

All individuals with symptoms are encouraged to seek testing. Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell.

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