INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The state department of health and county health departments have not received shipments of rapid tests since December 27. After administering an average of 50,000 rapid tests a week, healthcare workers have no choice but to limit their usage.
“We started the day with 180 appointments and only 80 test kits,” Stephenie Mellinger, administrator for the Madison County Health Department, said of Thursday. “So like I said, shout out to Howard County for helping us out of that jam.”
The demand for rapid tests outweighs the supply in county health departments. For right now, counties are instructed to only administer rapid tests to those under the age of 18 or 50 and older who are symptomatic.
“It makes us a little nervous, however with their imposed guides with how to use them, it’s helped us conserve them a little better,” Mellinger said.
State health departments said they have not been told when the next shipment will come as the state notes the national shortage.
“When we are out of our rapid tests, we are done,” Christine Stinson, Executive Director of the Wayne County Health Department, said.
Healthcare leaders urge people to have patience and spend time searching online for available testing appointments – which includes at local health departments and pharmacies.
“If you are shopping around for a testing appointment and you get one somewhere else, please call and cancel,” Christian Walker, Public Health Preparedness Coordinator at the Hamilton County Health Department, pleaded. “The second you cancel that appointment it becomes available for someone else.”
Health departments said there are still enough PCR tests to go around, for now. But, those do take more time to get results.
“It’s going to be four to five days as opposed to 48 hours,” Mellinger explained.
Like counties across the state, Wayne County has sites that offer anyone the opportunity of a walk-in PCR test. Stinson said they have an open site at the former Elder Beerman building on Main Street in Richmond. They are offering tests Tuesday through Saturday, 8 am to 4 pm.
All Hoosiers can search available testing appointments and walk-in locations on the state’s website, https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/covid-19-testing-information/.