State's COVID-19 testing expansion includes Jasper site

From Local Sources

JASPER — Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Tuesday that 50 COVID-19 testing sites will open in Indiana in the next two weeks, including one at the Indiana National Guard Armory in Jasper.

The Jasper site is one of 20 sites at armories across the state that will open within the next week.

OptumServe Health Services, powered by Logistics, Inc., will run the sites.

“Launching this partnership with Optum further expands Indiana’s COVID-19 testing capacity,” Holcomb said. “These free tests will be available in locations across the state, ensuring even more Hoosiers who have symptoms or an affected family member can get tested for coronavirus.”

According to a news release from the Dubois County Health Department, widespread testing will allow for better tracking of infections, the isolation of sick people and better monitoring of the spread of the virus. Dubois County currently has 22 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

“Testing is a key part of the strategy to reopen the country and loosen social distancing rules,” the news release states.

It adds that the county health department will not be involved in the operation of the Jasper site. However, the department will receive the results of positive cases in Dubois County residents and will continue to work with the Indiana State Department of Health and local officials to ensure that contacts of the patients are identified and monitored.

In the first 30 days of the expanded testing, 100,000 Hoosiers are expected to be tested. That’s more than the some 87,100 tests reported to the state health department since coronavirus testing began in early March as Indiana has trailed national testing rates. Testing has been largely limited to health care workers and people who are seriously ill.

The expanded testing is for any symptomatic person, close contacts of positive cases or residents of congregate living settings.

People can get tested without visiting a health care provider. State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box will issue a standing order for the test for any Hoosier who meets the criteria.

Each site will be open for at least eight hours per day, Monday through Friday. Testing will be by appointment only. Registration will open 48 hours before testing sites open. To sign up for an appointment, people will register through the Optum portal that will launch soon and self-report symptoms using an online screening tool. A hotline phone number will be added soon.

Patients will receive results within 48 hours, on average. Results will be provided to the patient via a phone call if the test is positive or via an email or text if the test is negative.

Patients will not be charged for testing and insurance is not required. If you have private health insurance, you are asked to bring that information with you.

“We have been working diligently to increase access to testing throughout Indiana with drive-thru clinics and strike teams,” Box said. “By joining forces with Optum, we will ensure that testing for COVID-19 is available to Hoosiers who need it most.”

OptumServe will collect the swab specimens, and manage the testing and reporting of data. OptumServe is providing its own supplies, personal protective equipment, testing kits, staffing and lab — increasing Indiana’s overall testing capacity. ISDH will continue to target focused testing and high risk populations in its testing.

An estimated 4,400 more Hoosiers will be tested every day in the initial phase. Once all 50 sites are open, as many as 6,600 more Hoosiers can be tested per day.

OptumServe, which is a division of insurance giant UnitedHealth Group, has a $17.9 million contract with the state, which officials hope will be covered by federal grants, ISDH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver said Tuesday during the governor’s coronavirus briefing. But neither Weaver nor Holcomb explained how the company was selected.

ISDH reported today 605 new cases, bringing the statewide total to 17,182. A total of 964 Hoosiers have died from the virus. Another 101 probable deaths have been reported, which are those for which a physician listed COVID-19 as a contributing cause but there are no positive tests on record.

The Associated Press Contributed to this report.

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