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Rising demand prompts St. Clair COVID testing site to open 6 days a week

“I had a couple of people call my office this morning that said 'I woke up with a fever' or 'I woke up with a sore throat', said Simmons. "Go get tested."

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has promised to surge COVID-19 testing resources to all parts of the state by Jan. 3, but workers at one local testing site decided to move up that timeline.

At the St. Clair County Public Service Facility, people are once again lining up to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated.

“It’s really encouraging,” said St. Clair Co. Emergency Manager Herb Simmons. “It tells me that people are getting the message after all of this time now. I think people are really taking advantage of it.”

However, it pales in comparison to what’s taking place at St. Clair Square.

“People are saying, 'Let’s be safe rather than be sorry,'” said Simmons.

This surge in demand comes one day after Gov. JB Pritzker announced he would be sending additional testing resources across the state.

“Anything we can get from the state will help our mission here,” said Simmons.

Since that time, Simmons said his phone hasn’t stopped ringing.

“I had a couple of people call my office this morning that said I woke up with a fever or I woke up with a sore throat. Go get tested,” said Simmons.

That’s resulted in a turnout so big that the workers here decided to make a necessary call to keep people safe.

“They weren’t supposed to go to six days a week until the first of the year,” said Simmons. “There are cars wrapping around the building here at the St. Clair Square Mall.”

Despite the long lines, Simmons said it hasn’t impacted turnaround time on tests.

“It’s 24 hours maybe,” said Simmons. “I’ve seen some quicker.”

While there are still some who thumb their nose at the pandemic, Simmons says he’s quickly seeing a shift in mindset.

“We know there are haters,” said Simmons. “For the people who are the concerned ones that are taking this serious because they lost a loved one, or they knew somebody that ended up in the hospital on the ventilator, it doesn’t take long for that to sink in.”

If you want to get tested this site will now run Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

No appointment is necessary.

Testing is completely free.

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