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Pop-up COVID-19 test sites are popping up everywhere and even at gas stations – How do we know if they’re legitimate?  – CBS Chicago


CHICAGO (CBS) – A Facebook post to a group of southern suburban mothers sparked a CBS 2 investigation.

A pop-up COVID test site was spotted at the service entrance of a gas station, and we quickly learned it wasn’t the only one. So we wanted to know – are these test sites legitimate and who regulates these facilities?

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CBS 2 investigator Megan Hickey has spent the day trying to get answers.

The laboratories where the tests are processed are regulated by the state of Illinois, but the collection sites themselves are not regulated in the same way. This is how a site in a gas station garage is allowed to exist.

While many drivers refuel at the gas station near the Dan Ryan Woods, a garage attached to the gas station a few yards from the pumps has been fitted with a lawn chair, a desk chair, a ‘a broken radiator and a styrofoam box.

These articles are the backdrop to one of the more recent COVID-19 testing sites on the southwest side of town.

Hickey spoke with Yaseen Sharreef, a lab technician at Western Labs, about the look of the test site.

Lollipop: “What do you say to someone who is a little sketched by this?” “

Sharreef: “Yes, I know, there have been rumors. We are just helping the community. We do not charge anything. It’s free.

Lollipop: “But you are reimbursed by the insurance.”

Sharreef: “Yeah.”

Lollipop: “This is how you make money.”

Sharreef: “Yes.”

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Sharreef said he has gone through a technical lab certification process to collect samples at the contextual testing site. He gave Hickey a PCR test on the spot.

Hickey asked Sharereef how the system worked. He said the collection site is affiliated with Western Labs – which, we verified, successfully applied for two-year certification with the state on September 7.

The “location lab” is also located in a gas station.

When Hickey asked Sharreef about the unconventional space, he said they were evaluating the interest and planning to get a bigger, more formal space if the interest continued.

“Our laboratory is certified. My boss is certified, yes – so everyone is certified, ”Sharreef said. “Some of them may be night flight tests.”

As recently as last week, Governor JB Pritzker said questionable pop-up sites will be investigated by the attorney general’s office.

When Hickey asked Shareef to “cash in on the pandemic,” he said he believed there were bad actors – and applicants should be wary of sites asking for money.

But he said his intentions were only good.

“I got into this because I wanted to help people; help the community; to help them know it’s serious, and people should take it seriously, ”Sharreef said.

We have received complaints from some viewers about delayed results on some of the pop-up test sites. At the gas station site, Hickey was told she would receive my results in 24 to 48 hours.

Note, however, that a CBS employee who visited the same site on Saturday morning was still awaiting her results Monday evening.

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There is an online database where you can check the active licenses of COVID-19 test sites. You can find it here.


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