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Residents of select Illinois zip codes can receive free covid tests

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Residents living in zip code 62966 in Murphysboro and certain other zip codes, can now order free COVID-19 rapid, home test kits. In addition to Murphysboro, people living in the Mt. Vernon zip code of 62864 and the Marion county zip codes of 62882 and 62801 can also apply online.

These zip codes were selected because CDC data is showing increased risk of the virus in those areas.

Paula Clark is the Division Director at the Jackson County Health Department

"These were chosen based on the highest risk levels for COVID-19. You know there's probably a lot of things that come in to factor, previous positives in the area, current positives in the area and vaccination rates."

Clark stresses if you test too early, you could get a false positive. The health department says to test anywhere from three to five days from the time symptoms appear, or, from the time you have been around somebody who has test positive. These test kits are available through a public-private partnership and to apply, visit Access Covid Tests DOT org.

Clark adds these home COVID-19 tests are separate from the ones made available through the recently launched federal program.

Born in Newport, Rhode Island to a military family, Kevin Boucher traveled the country and the world at a young age before his family settled in Murphysboro, Illinois in 1976. He earned a Bachelor's degree in Radio-Television at Southern Illinois University (SIU) in Carbondale and worked in commercial radio before becoming the Traffic Manager at WSIU Public Television. Boucher has since earned a Master's degree in Professional Media & Media Management Studies from SIU's College of Mass Communication & Media Arts. He is an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys gardening and exploring the flora and fauna of the Shawnee National Forest and other beautiful natural areas across southern Illinois. Kevin is embarking on a new path with WSIU as the Community Engagement Producer for WSIU Radio. Look for Kevin's work on air and on line.