Esperanza Health Centers launches new COVID-19 testing site launching on Chicago’s southwest side this week
In response to the high numbers of new COVID-19 cases in Brighton Park and Chicago Lawn, Southwest Side residents can expect a new testing site in their community this week.
Esperanza Health Centers, a nationally recognized Federally Qualified Health Center that operates four primary care clinics on Chicago’s Southwest Side, has opened a free, drive-thru COVID-19 testing site at Marquette Park near the corner of Marquette Rd. and California Ave. Esperanza will operate this site six days a week, and has the potential to serve up to 200 patients a day once the site is fully staffed.
For an area that continues to report an alarming number of positive cases, a new testing site is a long-time coming.
The 60629 and 60632 ZIP codes have been particularly hard hit during the pandemic, with more than 607 cases reported during the week ending January 2nd and with positivity rates remaining above 16%, according to data published by the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). Even with the recent opening of a testing site at Midway Airport, demand for tests has been high, prompting Esperanza’s recent decision to open its third testing site.
“We are responding to the need,” said Dan Fulwiler, president and chief executive officer of Esperanza. “If you look at where COVID-19 rates are highest and where testing sites in Chicago are located, it is clear there just are not enough COVID-19 resources in the community. By opening a testing site at Marquette Park, we are hoping to address a need that has existed since the start of the pandemic.”
The launch of the site was facilitated by the support of the Chicago Park District, which graciously agreed to allow Esperanza to occupy the northeastern corner of the park. Once Esperanza received the green light, Miguel Blancarte, Jr., director of COVID-19 response and community outreach, and his team worked diligently over the holidays to get the site up and running.
“Addressing this pandemic requires collaboration, team effort, and input from the voices within our communities,” said Miguel. “Esperanza heard directly from community members and it was clear that the Southwest Side needs more consistent, reliable testing sites with access to a health care provider. Esperanza thanks the Chicago Park District, CDPH, the City, and our testing teams who continue to work on the frontlines.”
Like its other two testing sites in Brighton Park and South Lawndale, Esperanza will offer testing at Marquette Park to any person who wants one, regardless of whether or not they are experiencing symptoms, Monday through Saturday from 7 AM to 3 PM. There is no cost for uninsured patients or for insured patients who are in-network. Esperanza offers tests by appointment only by calling (773) 584-6200. Testing hours and locations can be found online at www.esperanzachicago.org.