Illinois begins distributing rapid COVID-19 tests

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill.- Governor J.B. Pritzker says the state is starting to distribute its shipment of COVID rapid tests to health departments across the state. The federal government sent the Abbot BinaxNOW rapid test to states.

Illinois has received 170,000 so far and plans to receive shipments weekly until the end of the year. Gov. Pritzker says Illinois expects to get a total of three million tests.

The tests, which are made by an Illinois company, will also be used to test pilot programs at K-12 schools, long-term care facilities, and other state residences like veterans homes.

Gov. Pritzker said the state is also sharing its vaccine distribution plan with health departments and care providers across the state today.

He says the framework is designed to provide an equitable distribution throughout the state. There will be priority access to front line health care workers, first responders, and other vulnerable populations.

Gov. Pritzker said the plan has to be flexible because there are still a lot of unknowns like if cold storage is needed for the vaccines.

The state is also coordinating with health care providers to make sure those who can administer the vaccine has completed the state enrollment process.

The Illinois Department of Public Health director says it will take many months until the vaccines get into the arms of most residents. At first, there will only be a small amount available.

The director said the cost of the vaccine will be free and no one will be turned away.

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