Indiana enters $17.9 million partnership to ramp up testing

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. –  Indiana is entering a partnership with OptumServe to expand COVID-19 testing.

Governor Eric Holcomb said anyone with symptoms can be tested for free.

As it stands now, Indiana lags in its testing capacity compared to other states, but Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver says it’s not as bad now as it was when a White House data map was released showing Indiana as the worst in the Midwest.

“We are increasing. We are ahead of Ohio, ahead of Kentucky, which I believe were ahead of us on the White House list there, so, we are doing much better,” said Weaver. “I think Dr. Box has talked about this before, where because we weren’t initially one of those big hotspots, that a lot of the resources got diverted to those areas.”

Fairbanks Public School of Health Epidemiology Professor Brian Dixon said the state has a lot of room to grow.

“In order for us really to kind of get up to the level that we need, we would really need to be able to try to double the capacity of testing that we are at now,” said Dixon.

So, the state is entering a $17.9 million partnership with OptumServe. Its goal is to administer 30,000 tests per week, around 100,000 tests within the first 30 days and eventually, 6,600 per day.

Once the sites are up, you can register to be tested through an online portal that will be available soon.

“With these first 20 sites standing up all over the state of Indiana and ultimately then 50, we are going to be in your backyard,” said Holcomb. “So, if you are showing symptoms, go to that portal log and go find out.”

Democratic State Senator Greg Taylor, of Indianapolis, said he would like to see testing focused on communities with racial disparities.

“Because then what happens is once we reopen, those communities have not been adequately tested, if some type of remedy has not been put in those communities, we are going to get another spread,” said Taylor.

Sen. Taylor is also asking the state to test everyone in the Indiana Department of Corrections and Community Corrections.

“Cause people are gonna get out, that’s what I keep emphasizing to people. They may be behind bars today, but a lot of people are going to get out. Over 98% of the prisoners are gonna get out,” said Taylor.

Dixon said he believes the state will reach testing capacity eventually, but people need to be patient.

“I think the folks at the State Department of Health are working feverishly to test as many people as possible, work with our partners to increase testing capacity in all regions of the state, it just takes time,” said Dixon.

If you do get tested at the new sites next week, we’re told results will come back within about 48 hours.

You’ll get a text if it’s negative and a call if you are positive for COVID-19.

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