(INDIANAPOLIS) – Indiana has hired a private lab company to sharply increase testing for coronavirus.
Minnesota-based OptumServe started testing in California this week. It’ll set up testing sites at 20 Indiana National Guard armories in the next week, with plans to add 30 more locations in the week after that. State health department chief medical officer Lindsay Weaver says the goal is to perform 30,000 tests a week on top of the department’s own “strike team” testing in hotspots and high-risk settings like long-term care facilities.
Indiana has lagged behind other states in testing in the first weeks of the pandemic, though Weaver says the state has beefed up testing the last couple of weeks.The state has averaged 22,000 tests a week over the last month.
The first round of testing centers includes armories in Danville and Franklin.
Testing will still be limited to people with symptoms and those who have been in close contact with them. The state will pick up the cost, but patients need to make an appointment through Optum’s website.
Governor Holcomb says the goal is to get testing into parts of the state which have been underserved so far.
Holcomb says broader testing will unearth more positive cases, but he says more complete data is
important in guiding the state’s plans for gradually lifting restrictions first imposed five weeks ago.
Weaver says she’s hopeful federal grants will cover some or all of the $17.9 million cost of the