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Illinois attorney general warns about 'pop-up' testing sites

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JACKSONVILLE — Illinoisans should use caution when visiting "pop-up" COVID-19 testing sites and be aware of the potential for price gouging when buying at-home rapid tests, according to Attorney General Kwame Raoul.

A nationwide shortage of COVID-19 tests and available testing appointments has led many Illinois residents to turn to pop-up testing sites that aren't licensed or regulated; without such regulation, Raoul's office can't guarantee that such testing sites are legitimate, he said.

People first should try to use a state-sponsored testing site, Raoul said, noting that a person's regular health care provider can offer information on reliable testing and testing sites. Testing locations also are available on the Illinois Department of Public Health's website, the Cook County Department of Health's website and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' website.

Things to consider when choosing a testing site include:

—What tests does the site administer?

—Who analyzes the results?

—What laboratory does the site use? Visit to determine if the lab being used is CLIA-certified.

—When will test results be communicated to you, and how will you receive that information?

—Who can you call with questions or concerns about results?

—What type of personal information will the site ask you to provide?

—Does the site charge any out-of-pocket fee?

—Does the site appear to observe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to protect against COVID-19?

Testing sites often ask for insurance and other identifying information, such as state-issued identification, and those not comfortable providing such information should ask if they can be tested without doing so, Raoul said. Most testing sites also will not ask for out-of-pocket payment but will instead bill the person's insurance or seek reimbursement from a federal fund.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker asks residents who are vaccinated against COVID-19 to share their experiences with others who have not yet done so.

Being asked to pay out of pocket is a red flag, Raoul said.

If anything about a testing site doesn't seem right, people are encouraged to seek out a different testing site, he said. Anyone who is billed after the fact for testing services or otherwise believe they may have been the victim of fraud are asked to file a complaint via the attorney general's website.

Raoul also is reminding businesses to avoid price gouging on goods intended to help stop the spread of COVID-19, including at-home tests.

Consumers also should keep an eye out for fake test kits and visit the FDA's website for a list of approved at-home test kits. Consumers should expect to pay between $14 and $25 for packs of at-home rapid test kits.


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