Illinois to receive $473 million to boost COVID-19 testing

Illinois to receive $473 million to boost COVID-19 testing

Illinois will receive more than $473 million to help expand its testing capacities, Illinois Democratic Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin announced Friday.

The Illinois Department of Public Health will receive $286.3 million and the Chicago Department of Public Health will receive $187.5 million. The funds, provided through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are part of the $484 billion stimulus package signed into law last month.

“Increasing our testing capacity is critical to the health of Illinoisans and the speed at which we can safely reopen the economy,” Durbin said. “I’m pleased Congress was able to come together on a bipartisan basis to provide this federal support, but there is more work to do.”

Illinois is also set to receive 620,000 testing swabs by the end of the month.

Speaking at a tour Friday of the COVID-19 testing site at Chicago’s Stroger Hospital, Durbin stressed that more federal funds will be necessary to help states expand testing. He pushed back against comments made by President Donald Trump that testing is “overrated,” saying the country is in an ongoing battle with the virus.

“We have not prevailed,” Durbin said, “The battle still continues, but testing is critical to prevailing. This $473 million to our state will help. We need more.”

Cook County Health interim CEO Debra Carey echoed the point, telling Durbin that testing is essential to get a better handle on the virus.

“This is not basically a quick sprint, this is a marathon, and we are going the distance,” Carey said.

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