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DuPage Co. COVID Testing Site Closes Hours Ahead Of Schedule Because Of High Demand

CHICAGO (CBS) -- In some Chicago suburbs, you have to be an early bird to get a COVID test.

Some sites are closing hours before they're supposed to.

CBS 2's Steven Graves found out some places are running out of tests and he's asking why.

Some driving up to the DuPage County Fairgrounds for COVID-19 testing might get excited. At first glance, there are no lines. Until they find out there's also no one at the site.

"It took us 15, 20 minutes to drive up here."

And only about one minute for Tim Salman to realize he had to find a new test center.

"I came here at 11 in the morning to get a test done."

Tim safely told CBS 2 from his car he planned ahead to get to the site an hour before the one and only county site closed. But he and others missed an update from the DuPage County Health Department on Twitter.

The noon closing time -- moved way up to 8:16 a.m. The day before, 8:14 a.m. and two days before that it was 9:36 a.m.

The reason? The testing site reached testing capacity, meaning no more tests were available.

"It seems like it's very difficult for me to find somewhere to get a test. And I would think this far into the pandemic it should be a lot easier," Salman lamented.

Right now, the DuPage County Health Department far surpassing its cap of 600 tests a day. People lining up hours before the 7:00 a.m. opening time.

"We're definitely trying to fight for more tests. Towards the early part of October, we just saw the numbers jump," said Chris Hoff of the DuPage County Health Department.

In Will County, it's the same story, with the county quickly reaching their much lower cap of 80 tests on Thursday.

"It's really complex to add more. It's not something you can go out and buy more of and magically open capacity," Hoff added.

Both counties have millions of dollars in federal CARES Act funding. DuPage uses that to staff and run the site. The state of Illinois provides the amount of tests which are spread out over each week.

Now the focus is informing about other testing options in the area. But more importantly - getting people to avoid exposure in the first place.

Health officials warn closures like this could happen more frequently as the winter cold moves in.

CBS 2 reached out to the Illinois Department of Public Health to see if more tests could be provided to those counties but the IDPH has yet to respond.

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