SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Illinois health officials announced Wednesday a new $225 million investment to increase access to COVID-19 testing at middle and high schools across the state.
The covidSHIELD saliva-based test was developed by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and can detect coronavirus even in people who aren't showing symptoms.
"For in-person learning to occur, we need to help make schools as safe as possible for students, teachers, and staff," IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. "To help prevent an outbreak, it is important to identify cases of COVID-19 as quickly as possible. Having testing readily available in schools can make it easier for more students to be tested and cases identified quicker."
Test results are available within 12-24 hours after reaching the lab.
The covidSHIELD tests will be offered for free at schools that are pre-dominantly low-income and show high rates of infection.
The state's investment comes as an expansion of services being offered at Illinois public universities and community colleges.