DePaul extends loop test hours with SHIELD

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A second Covid testing site has opened on the DePaul’s Loop campus, providing more testing resources for DePaul students, faculty and staff.

The new site, which opened Jan. 18, is operated by SHIELD Illinois, the nonprofit Covid testing unit at the University of Illinois. Tests run by SHIELD are open to the public Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the lower level of the DePaul Center in DePaul Hall.

The second site extends testing hours into the afternoon and evening to better accommodate student schedules.

Morning tests are conducted by SHIELD-trained DePaul students. DePaul-exclusive testing is available in the DePaul Center lobby on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

DePaul students, faculty, and staff can book appointments at either site, while members of the general public can only book appointments for the SHIELD-operated site.

To schedule an appointment during DePaul-only hours, DePaul community members must first fill out a waiver to let the service process their tests.

Students, faculty, and staff can then create a SHIELD Portal account and enter the DePaul Agency code found on the Covid-19 Testing Resources page. The code for students is x2z7zqti-stu and the code for faculty and staff is x2z7zqti-emp. Redeeming the code will unlock available times at the Loop and Lincoln Park campuses.

To book an appointment during SHIELD business hours, use agency code df5brbrj.

If you do not have time to make an appointment, visits without an appointment are accepted.

“You can make an appointment, but it would be easier to have a SHIELD account and an appointment,” said Rutendo Chimbaru, DePaul’s temporary Covid prevention and response coordinator.

People with an appointment must show their appointment confirmation QR code to submit their test. Walk-in visits will follow the guidelines given by the workers.

According to Chimbaru, the DePaul-only test site is working fine. The Loop site sees around 50 people every day, while Chimbaru estimates 100 people get tested at Lincoln Park.

“People are coming in droves, it’s never too crowded,” Chimbaru said.

Once at the testing site, community members will receive a self-administered saliva-based PCR test. There are indicators on the sample tube indicating the amount of saliva needed.

According to Daniel Shute, field operations team leader with SHIELD, people should not eat, drink, chew or smoke for an hour before their appointment.

Test results will be available approximately 24-48 hours after the test. According to Shute, SHIELD has one of the fastest turnaround times for lab results, excluding on-site lab testing sites.

There are seven SHIELD labs in Illinois, located in Decatur, Itasca, Maywood, Normal, North Chicago, Rockford, and Springfield.

Candidates can access their results by logging into the SHIELD website with their username and password.

Like the DePaul-run site, Shute noted that the SHIELD-run site was pretty quiet.

“So far it hasn’t been very busy,” Shute said. “We are in the second week of [Loop] community website. Most of these tests take place regularly in the morning and travel to Lincoln Park.

SHIELD has the capacity to perform “a few hundred tests” in the three-hour community time slot, Shute said. He hopes more people will take advantage of the free trial site.

DePaul students were pleased with the ease of the Loop test site.

“I heard about [the Loop testing site] through a friend,” said DePaul student Olivia Baczkowski.

Baczkowski traveled to both test sites at DePaul. They said the Loop test site was much easier to navigate than the Lincoln Park site.

Other students echoed this sentiment.

“It was very quick and very easy,” said fellow DePaul student Kevin Ryczek. “You can go out in a minute or two.”

Both Loop test sites are free. For more information on how to get tested at DePaul, visit DePaul’s Covid Resources page. If you’re not sure if you should get tested, visit CDC.gov for current Covid guidelines.

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