by Kathy Tretter
Indiana will be the second state to implement a new COVID-19 testing protocol next week, according to Dr. Lyndsey Weaver with the Indiana Department of Health.
Working with Optum Serve, 20 new testing sites will open in National Guard Armories, including the armory in Jasper located at 1481 Bartley Street. By mid-May an additional 30 sites will be opened. The goal is to test 30,000 Hoosiers a week. This expanded testing capacity will cost $17.9 million and will allow every symptomatic person to be tested. Results will be provided within about 48 hours, with negative tests eliciting a text or email if negative and a phone call if positive.
The Optum portal in which to make an appointment can be found online and is preferred, although call-in appointments will be available. The portal will open two days before the sites open and more information will be provided as it becomes available.
There is no charge for the testing; however, residents with insurance are asked to bring in their insurance cards.
As of today (Tuesday, April 28), over 87,000 Hoosiers have been tested with a total of 16,588 positive cases, 650 of those in the previous 24 hours and 901 deaths, 57 of those in that same 24-hour period.
Meanwhile, according to Dr. Weaver, 3,774 of those contacted to be tested for a study implemented by the Richard Fairbanks School of Health IUPUI have registered. The state is seeking the remaining 1,026. Anyone who received a postcard or email from the Indiana State Department of Health is asked to participate. Subjects were chosen randomly to represent a cross-section of Hoosiers and if you were selected, Health officials ask that you please reply. This is just phase one of an ongoing study expected to last a year or more to determine the breadth and depth of infection.
“We’ve got a lot more to do,” said Governor Eric Holcomb. He recognizes that everyone is getting tired of the restrictions but said now is not the time to relent. “It’s why we’re working around the clock … your physical distancing is making all the difference.”
The governor continued, “Listen folks, this can be with us for a year. It all depends on how we manage it.”