Southern Illinois residents with coronavirus symptoms have at least three places they can go to get tested after they get a doctor’s referral — and more testing sites are coming.

SSM Health announced Thursday that it set up drive-thru testing sites in Mount Vernon and in Centralia. Memorial Hospital and the St. Clair County Health Department also have a drive-thru testing site in Swansea, which was announced Wednesday.

BJC HealthCare said it is planning to open more testing sites in the St. Louis region, including in the metro-east, in the coming weeks.


The drive-thru testing site at 4000 North Illinois Lane opened Thursday. It will continue to be open from 12-6 p.m. seven days a week.

Residents need to be screened by a physician or by an Urgent Care facility over the phone and receive authorization from the local health department before they can receive testing at the site.

So far, three people have tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus disease in St. Clair County. Officials were not expecting a large volume of residents to visit the testing site right away; they set it up now to be ready for more cases in the future.

“We’re calling today a soft opening,” said Michael McManus, Memorial’s president. “Our goal is to be ready to serve the community as this ever-changing situation evolves and the need increases for specimen collection and testing.”

Mount Vernon and Centralia

Residents who want to visit the Mount Vernon or Centralia drive-thru testing sites need to complete a free online evaluation at first. If they meet the criteria for testing, they will see a test site’s address at the end of the online screening.

Residents can also be referred for testing by an SSM Health physician. The online screening does not require residents to be an existing SSM Health patient.

Clinton County, where part of Centralia is located, has also had three people test positive for COVID-19.

On Thursday, the online screening website stated that SSM Health was handling “an extremely high volume of virtual evaluations.”

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