With the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the rise, the Southern Seven Health Department will host two free mobile testing sites in the region over the Labor Day weekend.

The Illinois Department of Public Health will set up mobile testing units at the S7HD clinic offices in Anna on Saturday, and in Vienna on Sunday. Both sites will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for drive-through service.

“Over the last few weeks, we’ve started to see an increase throughout the state in COVID-19 cases, especially down here in our region,” said Shawnna Rhine, S7 community outreach coordinator.

“So we’re holding these in response to that giving anybody who wants to get tested an opportunity to.”

Anyone needing a COVID-19 test, even those without symptoms, can be tested without an appointment or doctor’s referral. The nasal swab test is free whether or not the participants have insurance. Those who have insurance are asked to bring their insurance card with them.

“We want to make sure that everybody has that opportunity (to be tested),” Rhine said.

The mobile testing sites are particularly important in the Southern 7 region which is mostly made up of rural counties, according to Rhine.

“For the majority of people that live in our region, they have to travel quite a bit, some as far as 50-75 miles, to get tested,” she said.

“Being able to give them an opportunity to get tested locally and make testing more readily available, gives them that opportunity.”

Residents unable to be tested are asked to watch for the following symptoms: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.

Anyone developing those symptoms should begin isolation immediately and contact their health care provide about betting tested, according to the health department.

As of Tuesday afternoon, S7HD reported a cumulative total of 816 positive COVID-19 cases and 23 deaths in the region since the start of the pandemic. Massac County had 63 total cases, 47 of which have recovered, and 15 which were still active. There has been one death in Massac County attributed to COVID-19.

“For us down here, we do continue to see somewhat of a consistent increase. Some day we may as few as eight and another day we may have as many as 30,” Rhine said.

“Any increase that we’re seeing on that (total number) is something to be concerned about.”

According to Rhine, the number of positive cases is likely to continue to rise “until we have a vaccine in place, or until we again see people following those guidelines consistently, we’re going to continue to see that rise. Until we have a vaccine our best defense is the masking, social distancing, and washing of hands.

“That’s what people need to understand.”

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