Free COVID-19, HIV tests offered in Pilsen


Jonathan Aguilar | La DePaulia

Workers at Project Vida test residents of Little Village for Covid-19. The testing is available to everyone no matter their immigration status. // Trabajadores en Project Vida realizan pruebas de COVID-19 para residentes de La Villita. Las pruebas son disponibles para todos, sin importar su estatus migratorio.

The National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA), CALOR, and Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE) are partnering to offer free COVID-19 and HIV testing Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the NMMA location in Pilsen.

Patients aren’t required to bring ID or proof of insurance, and no criteria are required. CALOR will be conducting antibody HIV testing while CORE conducts COVID-19 tests via oral swab. 

“The line will wrap around the front of the museum and they will first encounter CALOR then reach CORE for COVID-19 testing,” said Alfredo Flores, program manager of education services. “HIV results will take less than a minute while COVID-19 results will take about two to three days.”

This is the first collaboration between the three organizations. CORE does mobile testing throughout Chicagoland along with their permanent testing locations in Saucedo and Prieto Elementary, Gately Park and Horizon Academy. Their most recent mobile testing was Tuesday July 14 at The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Living Memorial and Barreto Boys and Girl Club.While CALOR previously tested in carnivals as a pop up testing site. They will be holding this joint event with the NMMA as the venue.

“CALOR was looking for landmark locations that were easy for people to identify in the community,” said Consulting Performing Arts Curator Jorge Valdivia. “[Flores] reached out to me to see if the museum would be interested. I spoke with the President and the president so without missing a beat he just said ‘Let’s do it.’”

 The Latino community accounts for about 32 percent of all COVID-19 cases in Illinois, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health Dashboard. Compared to other race demographics, Latinos make up the greatest race demographic for confirmed cases.

“The NMMA has such a great relationship with the Mexican community, especially [in] Pilsen,” Flores said. “I think it’s gonna be a great impact because they have a bilingual staff.And I think really addressing the needs of that community is important. This type of events [is] really necessary because undocumented individuals going through something like this is pretty scary sometimes. You don’t know ‘Oh, do I need insurance? Do I need an ID?’ A lot of times they can’t go to medical services without that type of information.” 

The event is planning to conduct about 500 tests Wednesday.