Although the Loop Medical Center at 432 E. Grand Ave. is not scheduled to officially open until later this summer, the facility is offering free COVID-19 swab and blood antibody tests to anyone who schedules an appointment and provides a valid ID or social security number in the meantime.
To schedule an appointment, visit loopmedicalcenter.com.
Founder and Medical Director Dr. Nidal Elbaridi, a Streeterville resident himself, launched the service after receiving requests about personal protective equipment from “well meaning citizens, retired police officers and others who worked in law enforcement.”
“I did a lot of reading and plugged into medical resources and alumni at Harvard,” he said. “I partnered with Lab Corp and the Illinois Department of Public Health and started to understand that testing is a necessary part of returning to normality.”
An ambitious plan, no doubt; but Dr. Elbaridi wields the expertise to get it done. Born and raised in Belgrade, Serbia, he earned a degree in physical therapy from the University of Illinois before attending Harvard medical school, where he graduated with specialties in anesthesiology and critical care and a sub-specialty in cosmetic surgery.
Besides taking advantage of the clinic’s status as an official Illinois Department of Public Health testing site, the inspiration to provide free testing was fueled by his goal to help the community maintain its “homeostasis.”
“Homeostasis is the condition of staying the same,” he said. “A separation from the status quo — not enough sleep, exercise, or too much food — removes you from the homeostatic environment.”
It also extends to the people who work at the clinic.
“I was in the same boat as everyone else and I have a staff that I’m responsible for,” Dr. Elbardi said. “I saw this as a way to engage my staff and allow them to be busy. I’ve not laid off a single person.”
Dr. Elbaridi founded the first Loop Medical Center four years ago at 1931 S. Michigan Ave. Since then, he has added clinics in Oak Park and Lincoln Park. When the Streeterville facility is completed, he says that it will be a “multiplex that offers fitness, testing, advice and aesthetics in an inviting and welcoming facility.”
“My mission is to provide an access point in a very centralized area within the community where I live,” he said. “Streeterville deserves this. It is a great neighborhood.”