Increasing testing for coronavirus has become a priority in Illinois and across the country.

Now, Illinois residents with a COVID-19-like illness or symptoms can be tested even without a doctor’s order, the Illinois Department of Public Health has announced. Contacting your local health department or hospital can move the testing process forward.

More testing can show the number of people infected, including those now showing symptoms of the virus. But a contributing factor to the spread of COVID-19 is people infected but not showing symptoms. That has contributed to the spread of the disease, including the many cases confirmed in a Newton nursing home.

As testing capacity expands, tests are available for people who:

# Have COVID-19 symptoms including a cough, shortness of breath and fever.

# Face risk factors from contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19, a compromised immune system or a serious chronic medical condition.

Testing is also available for those with or without symptoms who:

# Work in a health care facility.

# Are employed in correctional facilities, such as jails or prisons.

# Serve as first responders, such as paramedics, emergency medical technicians, law enforcement officers or firefighters.

# Support critical infrastructure, such as workers in grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, gas stations, public utilities, factories, childcare and sanitation.

A list of testing sites can be found online at or