COVID-19 Testing

Types of Testing Available in Lake County

There are two main types of testing available to Lake County clinicians: 

  • Molecular Testing is used to detect active infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This test uses a sample taken from the nose and/or throat. Results are generally available in hours to several days, and some rapid tests are available with results available within an hour. Molecular tests may not detect if you were infected in the past, and also may not detect the virus in the early stages of the incubation period, before symptoms develop. 
  • Serology (Antibody) Testing uses a blood sample to detect antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. A positive test result may indicate that person was previously infected with the virus. The test cannot be used to detect or diagnose active COVID-19 infection. It also can’t tell you if you are protected from infection, or your length of protection. The test may also detect other coronaviruses that do not cause COVID-19.  

The Lake County Health Department’s priority is expanding capacity for molecular testing to identify residents who are currently infected so we can help prevent further spread of the virus. The Health Department is also reviewing new testing methods that are becoming available to identify those that have been scientifically validated. 

COVID-19 testing and treatment is available to Illinois residents regardless of immigration status, including those without insurance. Testing and treatment do not count towards Public Charge. The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights has a text line – text “HC4ALL” to 52886 for the latest information.

Waukegan Community-Based Testing Site

A state-operated Community Based Testing Site opened in Waukegan Sunday, May 3. Testing is free.

Waukegan Community-Based Testing Site
2161 Northwestern Avenue, Waukegan, IL
Everyday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
(or until 750 tests are completed each day)

Who Can Be Tested

  • All individuals with symptoms 
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Chills
    • Muscle pain
    • Sore throat
    • New loss of taste or smell
  • People in the following groups with or without symptoms:
    • Individuals exposed to confirmed COVID-19 cases
    • Individuals with compromised immune systems and/or chronic medical conditions
    • Healthcare workers
    • First responders
    • Employees of correctional facilities
    • Government employees
    • Employees who support critical infrastructure (grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, gas stations, public utilities, factories, childcare and sanitation)

Know Before You Go

Anyone who will be tested must be seated at a functioning window. Once you get in line at the CBTS, you will not be permitted to exit your car. For the safety of the testing personnel, the drive-thru sites will not be able to accommodate walk-up individuals. Individuals must arrive in a vehicle.

While this is a free service, you will be asked to show: 

  1. Photo identification and 
  2. Healthcare employee or first responder ID/badge, if applicable.

Due to the demand for this service, we anticipate there could be significant wait times associated with the drive-thru community-based testing site. Please be patient. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, you are urged to call your doctor or emergency department to seek immediate care and instructions.

For additional information related to COVID-19, please visit You can also get your COVID-19 questions answered at any time of day by calling the COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-889-3931. You can also email you questions to

Lake County Health Department Respiratory Illness Clinic

On April 6, the Lake County Health Department opened its Respiratory Illness Clinic for patients with symptoms of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses, such as cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, and/or nasal congestion. The Respiratory illness clinic is located at the North Chicago Health Center, 2215 14th St, North Chicago, IL.

COVID-19 testing is available by appointment at the Respiratory Illness Clinic for symptomatic Community Health Center patients. A telehealth screening must be completed to determine if testing criteria are met. 

Please call ahead at (847) 377-8800 for an appointment. No walk-ins, please.

North Chicago Health Center
2215 14th St, North Chicago, IL
Mondays-Fridays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If you are a patient of the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center, previously scheduled appointments from this location have been moved to the Belvidere Medical Building (2400 Belvidere Rd, Waukegan).

Other Testing Sites

Dozens of additional commercial testing sites are also available throughout Illinois. However, please note that while the State’s testing criteria is easing, individual providers and testing sites may have limited availability of tests or different criteria for testing if they are using a private lab. Please contact your healthcare provider for information.

For the most up-to-date list of these sites, visit where residents can also find information on eligibility for testing and contact information for each testing site. Find testing sites available in Lake County.