How funding cuts for COVID-19 tests and treatments could worsen health disparities

INDIANAPOLIS — At the start of the pandemic, many wished there was a pill people could swallow to make a COVID-19 infection go away. Two years later, we have not just one, but two of those pills, in addition to other outpatient and inpatient treatments. Listen to this story here. The federal government established […]

IDPH says it won’t renew COVID testing contract with Reditus

PEKIN — The Illinois Department of Public Health said Wednesday it will not renew its lucrative COVID testing contract with Reditus Labs. The Interstate Center testing site in Bloomington will close March 31. Reditus Labs CEO Aaron Rossi was indicted last week on federal tax fraud charges. He also faces a civil lawsuit in Tazewell […]

You asked: What are monoclonal antibodies, and how are they used to treat COVID-19?

INDIANAPOLIS — As the omicron variant pushes COVID case counts to new highs, Side Effects has received audience questions about coronavirus treatments, including monoclonal antibodies. To get answers to your questions, Side Effects Public Media’s Jake Harper spoke with Dr. Myron Cohen, a professor of medicine, microbiology and epidemiology at the University of North Carolina […]

As COVID overwhelms health departments, some scale back on contact tracing

CARBONDALE — After Jamie White tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 28, she didn’t receive any information on what to do for a full week. “When I tried to reach the health department, I was told they’re no longer doing contact tracing and was given a phone number to call,” said White, who lives in […]

A guide to COVID tests: When to test, what kind to use and what your results mean

Each week, we answer frequently asked questions about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you’d like us to consider for a future post, email us at with the subject line: “Weekly Coronavirus Questions.” See an archive of our FAQs here. In an ideal world, the U.S. would be awash in […]

Why rapid COVID tests are in short supply in the U.S.

WASHINGTON — For many Americans, the hunt for an at-home COVID test can be frustrating right now. In the aftermath of the holidays, drugstore shelves are bare in many places and states that have offered free over-the-counter tests, like Ohio and New Hampshire, ran out within hours. This situation frustrates Dr. Kavita Patel who wishes navigating […]

Pritzker blames unvaccinated as COVID patients fill Illinois hospitals amid Omicron surge

CHICAGO – Gov. JB Pritzker and other health officials from across Illinois on Monday identified unvaccinated people as the cause for healthcare systems stretched to their limits as the state experiences a fifth COVID wave driven by the virus’ extremely contagious Omicron variant. Five-hundred new COVID patients were admitted to Illinois hospitals between Sunday and […]

U of I chancellor offers optimism as pandemic continues

URBANA – Coronavirus transmission remains high. Gun violence is up. Despite these worrying indicators, University of Illinois Urbana Chancellor Robert Jones said on Thursday he sees causes for optimism. “I know there are a few of you asking, ‘Jones, did you once again accidentally put your rose-colored glasses this morning?’” Jones joked. Thursday marked the […]

Rare Coronavirus Mutation Can Complicate COVID-19 Testing, St. Louis Researchers Report

ST. LOUIS — A rare coronavirus mutation can affect COVID-19 testing reliability, new research from Washington University has found. Identified in a handful of St. Louis patients last year, the mutation may make it harder for certain commercial tests to detect an infection. But researchers emphasize that the vast majority of COVID-19 tests target multiple […]

U Of I Saliva Test Coming To Two Champaign-Urbana Schools, With Hopes To Expand

URBANA – OSF HealthCare announced a new partnership with the University of Illinois Tuesday that will expand the U of I’s saliva-based COVID-19 test into the broader Champaign-Urbana community. Starting next Friday, the saliva test will be available to students, teachers and staff at two schools in Champaign-Urbana: Stratton Academy of the Arts and Urbana […]

U Of I Admins Urge Students To Stay Vigilant As They Return To Campus

URBANA – As University of Illinois students return to the Urbana campus this month, administrators urge them to remain vigilant as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on.  Campus leaders said during a virtual COVID-19 briefing yesterday that many of the same precautions that were enacted in the fall semester will remain in place during the spring, […]

We Know How To Increase Access to HIV/AIDS Testing. Can Those Strategies Work For COVID-19?

URBANA – The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on long-standing racial disparities, when it comes to access to health care and other resources.  People of color, who are overrepresented among essential workers and in low-income communities, have been disproportionately hurt by the virus and are among those in need of better access to coronavirus […]

U Of I Needs FDA Authorization To Expand Access To COVID-19 Testing In Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign still does not have emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its saliva COVID-19 test — and that’s causing delays in expanding it to the rest of the state’s public universities and K-12 schools. University officials discussed the matter at a hearing hosted […]