State health experts report need for rapid tests outpaces supply


FISHERS, Ind. — Local healthcare providers admit there are not enough rapid tests to meet the demand. In Fishers alone, more than 600 Hoosiers made appointments today for testing through the public health department.

“We can’t meet that demand, as you’re hearing all over the country,” Monica Heltz, Public Health Director at the Fishers Health Department, said.

Heltz is frustrated over the lack of rapid test supply. Heltz said 686 people made appointments at the Fishers Health Department, most of them wanting rapid tests.

“I would say build in extra time and get a PCR test or go ahead and purchase one over the phone or if you can find one for an at-home test,” Heltz advised.

President Joe Biden pledged support for the states, telling them, “If you need something, say something.” The administration plans to make 500 million rapid tests available beginning next month.

“We have them now, but we have such a limited quantity that we have to ration them,” Heltz said. “We certainly can’t meet demand.”

Brian Dixon, Director of Public Health Informatics at the Regenstrief Institute, said without rapid tests and quick results, people will not be able to make informed decisions about quarantining.

“Obviously if you’re positive, we want you to get into isolation as quickly as possible,” Dixon said.

The state department of health reports just 12% of the state’s ICU beds are available – for COVID or anything else.

“So, that could result in a delay of care for someone, and that result could end up costing them their life,” Dixon said.

Heltz advises people to continue masking up and getting vaccinated. The Fishers Health Department is opening up for extended hours for vaccinations this week, from Tuesday through Thursday, from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

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