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Innovative Express Care to Vaccinate CPS Teachers, Staff

Innovative Express Care has been awarded a contract from the Chicago Board of Education to vaccinate thousands of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teachers and essential staff over the next few weeks. Dedicated CPS COVID Vaccination Centers will be established at four city high school locations, aimed to vaccinate CPS employees quickly as part of the ongoing effort for teachers and students to return to school buildings.

“We are excited to partner with the Board of Education and CPS to make COVID vaccines available to all CPS staff as quickly as possible,” said Rahul Khare, MD, CEO and founder of Innovative Care. “We have vaccinated more than 8,000 patients already, including many area teachers. Innovative Care is committed to helping our community recover from COVID, and vaccines are a large part of that effort.”

CPS Scheduling

CPS teachers and staff will be vaccinated in phases. Appointments are required, and staff must wait until their eligibility window to schedule their visit. Only CPS staff will be seen at the clinics. Scheduling will be done online via Innovative Express Care’s HIPAA compliant scheduling portal. Patients will also be able to pre-register online before they arrive, making their visit quick and easy. Appointments typically take just 20 minutes from arrival to completion. Vaccines are free of charge. Insurance will be billed for administering the vaccine, but patients will not pay any out-of-pocket costs.

About Innovative Care

Innovative Express Care is the urgent care practice under the medical group Innovative Care. The clinic opened in 2015, and has been instrumental in fighting COVID since the virus hit Chicago in March 2020. The clinic has administered more than 300,000 COVID tests to date, and 8,000 COVID vaccines to date. Innovative Express Care currently operates four dedicated COVID clinics, which will increase to eight with the addition of the CPS Vaccination Centers.

Residents of Chicago who do not work at CPS may schedule COVID vaccine appointments online at innovativecovid.com or via the ZocDoc vaccine finder.

Dr. Khare on WGN: COVID Vaccine Availability

We know the vaccine waiting game can be frustrating. Clinics wait for doses, as patients wait for appointments. Dr. Khare explained how we are doing everything we can to increase vaccine availability for people in group 1b on WGN TV.

The short answer? Persistence is key. We can only book appointments a few days out, as we must first guarantee we’ll have doses available for patients. Those in group 1b, which include older adults age 65+ and essential front line workers (police, fire, teachers, etc.) should check our website and others often to look for appointment availability which can change daily.

Innovative Wellness and Innovative Express Care Make Chicago’s “Best Of” List

We did it!

Thanks to your nominations, Innovative Wellness and Innovative Express Care have made the Chicago Reader’s “Best Of” list in two categories: Best Clinic to get your Medical Card and Best Local CBD Source.

Vote online today!

Our team is proud to help patients who qualify for medical cannabis and guide them as they pursue improved health and symptom relief. Now that we made the list of finalists, we need your help one last time to bring this honor home. Please visit the Chicago Reader online to cast your vote for Innovative Express Care and Innovative Wellness in these two categories. 

Best Clinic to get your Medical Card
Best Local CBD Source

Innovative Wellness has developed cannabis regimen protocols for numerous conditions, including Crohn’s Disease, IBS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, PTSD, Cancer, Migraines and more. Our team will help you determine what strains are best suited for your unique symptoms and help you incorporate cannabis into your treatment plan. 

If you or someone you know is interested in exploring medical cannabis, contact us today

Spread the word and cast your vote today. Thanks for your support.

Do you have COVID-19 antibodies? A new, highly sensitive test will provide the answer

Beckman Coulter Antibody Test

Innovative Express Care is excited to offer a new antibody test that offers IgG and IgM antibodies at our 1111 W. Diversey Parkway COVID testing site. This antibody test is more accurate than other tests on the market, as it looks at both IgG and IgM, and has a high specificity and sensitivity rate. We were the first in Chicago to begin antibody testing in the spring of 2020, and we are proud to continue as a local leader in antibody testing.

The Beckman Coulter IgM and IgG antibody test is extremely accurate, as it uses the spike protein which is unique to the COVID-19 virus. This is the antibody test I trust for my family, friends and patients. Here’s why:

Remarkable specificity and sensitivity 

The test demonstrates 99.9% specificity and 98.3% sensitivity. This is the best out there currently. Here’s a video showing how it works: https://www.beckmancoulter.com/solutions/sars-cov-2-antibody-testing

Strength of immune response

The two approved vaccines on the market use the spike protein to create antibodies. We feel that the Beckman Coulter test will show us the strength of immune response to the vaccines. It will also shows antibodies to the current mutations of COVID-19.

Identification of false positives

We use the Beckman Coulter test to look for both IgM antibodies (which show up as early as 2-3 days after infection occurs) and IgG antibodies (which show up 5-7 days after initial infection). The antibody test can be used to determine if a COVID-19 rapid or PCR test indicated a false positive result, or if the patient is indeed fighting COVID-19.

Vaccine Response

We have been getting patients who have received the vaccine and want to see their immune response to this novel vaccine. We are delighted to see that all patients receiving the vaccine have a good immune response. We hope to continue to see this as more people get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Who can get the new antibody test? 

The new antibody test at Innovative Express Care is available to anyone who feels they may have had COVID-19, whether they previously tested positive for the virus or not. It can also be used to confirm the presence of antibodies after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Do you think you may have gotten COVID-19? Make an appointment today. Tests are performed using a simple blood draw (more accurate than a finger prick) and results are available within 1-2 days.

Schedule an appointment today

The new Beckman Coulter antibody test is only available at our 1111 W. Diversey testing clinic. If you would like this test specifically, please make an appointment at that location. 

Our clinic in Downers Grove offers antibody testing, but NOT the Beckman Coulter test. The test they use is the Assure FaStep IgG/IgM, which measures IgG and IgM antibodies through a finger prick. The Assure FaStep test has a 98.8% sensitivity and 98.7% specificity for IgG, and 93.7% sensitivity and 99.1% specificity for IgM.

COVID Testing Timeline for the Holidays

COVID-19 Holiday Travel

If you choose to gather with friends or family this holiday season, be sure to take every precaution possible to limit the risk of virus transmission. This includes virus testing. While getting tested doesn’t guarantee the gift of health, it can be an important safeguard. Dr. Khare addresses common questions, including when to get tested, below. 

Q: I am road tripping to see family on Christmas day. When should I get tested?

A:  It can take several days to get PCR test results back from the lab. To ensure you have results before you go, I recommend getting tested by December 18th. This grants a little extra time from what it usually takes to get results back. Labs are very busy right now, and the holiday season can amplify the volume, so allowing an additional day or two, just in case, is important. Another option is our at-home saliva PCR test kit. 

Q: I am flying to see family and need to be tested within 72 hours of my flight. Will I get my results in time? 

A: Possibly. It can take up to four days for us to get PCR results from the lab. While we usually have results between 2-3 days, this unfortunately cannot be guaranteed. If you need documentation for a flight, I highly recommend scheduling an appointment at COVID of Chicago, our affiliate clinic. They use a new PCR test that can be read in their onsite lab within two-hours. Unfortunately, the test is not covered by insurance. You may pay what you saved in airfare to guarantee results in time to fly, but you’ll be able to pack with ease knowing you already have the documentation needed in hand.  

Q: Are you open for testing on Christmas and New Years?

A: Innovative Express Care is open on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, but closed on Christmas day and New Years Day. Test results will continue to be communicated, even on the days we are closed. 

Q: If I only have a few guests, and we get tested before we see one another, is it safe to gather for the holiday? 

A: The safest thing to do is to stay home and spend the holiday only with your immediate family that lives in your household. If you choose to see others, keep your gathering small (less than 10 people). Getting tested prior to gathering is an excellent idea, just like the successful NBA bubble. Have everyone schedule a test at Innovative Express Care  4-5 days before the gathering to ensure enough time to get results. If a family member cannot find a test or is a last minute add-on, it is a good idea to get a rapid test at COVID of Chicago, who can get a rapid test back within about an hour, even on Christmas Eve.

Stay safe and healthy. Happy holidays.

Same-Day PCR Results Available at New COVID-19 Testing Site

When COVID-19 symptoms strike, you want immediate answers, not several days of isolation and worry. A new COVID-19 testing clinic in Chicago offers same-day PCR results. No more waiting, no more wondering, just answers. 

PCR tests are the gold-standard for virus testingUnfortunately, it usually takes 2-5 days to get PCR results from the lab. COVID of Chicago invested in the latest testing technology and built an on-site lab to take away the wait. Patients who come to the drive-thru clinic get VIP service and same-day results

The PCR test used at COVID of Chicago is the same test that was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for its use by the NFL. The Accula test is superior to other tests that deliver same-day results, as it is a PCR test, not a rapid antigen test which is known to be less accurate. The Accula and Cue PCR tests used at COVID of Chicago are highly accurate. Both tests are accepted for travel, as well as return to work and school, whereas rapid antigen tests may not be accepted. 

A COVID-19 diagnosis is not like flu or other illnesses, as it requires isolation in order to protect family and friends. The sooner you know if COVID-19 is the cause of your symptoms, the sooner you can take precautions.

When you don’t have time to wait, schedule an appointment at COVID of Chicago. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not cover the cost of this test and patients must pay out of pocket for the same-day PCR test. The cost for the PCR test and provider consultation is $385. COVID of Chicago also offers rapid antigen testing for $250.

For more information, visit COVID of Chicago online.

If you wish to use your insurance for COVID-19 testing, visit our affiliate clinic, Innovative Express Care. Innovative Express Care offers PCR nasal tests, PCR saliva tests, rapid antigen testing and antibody testing.

At-Home Test Kits Now Available

The demand for COVID-19 testing can often make it difficult to get an appointment. We recognize that this can be stressful, which is why we are excited to offer at-home COVID-19 saliva test kits.

At-home tests are easy to use and very convenient. You simply register your kit online, provide a saliva sample and send the sample to the lab in a prepaid envelope. Two to three days later, you’ll have your test results. 

The at-home saliva test kit is a PCR test, which is considered to be the gold standard for virus testing. Testing at home can be especially convenient for:

  • Those planning a trip
  • Children who need testing
  • People who are unable or unwilling to travel to a testing site
  • Business travelers

I had a patient recently who still travels for work, and therefore needs regular COVID-19 testing (his wife won’t let him back in the house until he’s had a COVID test). The at-home test kit is great for him, as he can take it on the trip, provide a sample a couple of days before he travels home, and be let in the house sooner when he arrives back home. 

At-home test kits are not covered by insurance, but do offer a good, quick solution if you are unable to find an available testing appointment. The kits cost $185. There is no fee for shipping the kit to your home, and a prepaid envelope is provided for you to ship your sample to the lab. You can also opt to pick up a kit at our Diversey testing site in Lincoln Park if you want to get it on the same day you order. 

If you are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, we strongly advise you to make an appointment at one of our clinics so you can be evaluated by a medical provider.

To order an at-home COVID-19 test kit, or for more information, please visit our website


Will we see a surge in COVID-19 cases following Thanksgiving?

The thanksgiving holiday looked different for many people this year, as they enjoyed more intimate dinners than in years past. Still, any gathering poses a potential risk when it comes to COVID-19. Dr. Khare spoke with ABC 7 on Sunday to explain why he expects to see a surge in virus cases in the weeks following the Thanksgiving holiday. Innovative Express Care test more than 2,000 patients every day and expects the high demand for testing to continue throughout the holiday season.

View the story here.