Top health official urges more Hoosiers to get test

By The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana's health commissioner is encouraging more Hoosiers to get tested for the coronavirus, saying that the state's COVID-19 testing capacity is now “greater than it’s ever been.”

Indiana has more than 250 testing locations, but some sites have seen a drop in the number of people coming to get tested, said Dr. Kristina Box, Indiana's health commissioner.

“All the testing availability in the world doesn’t do any good if people aren’t willing to get tested,” Box said Wednesday at Gov. Eric Holcomb's weekly coronavirus briefing.

Since the beginning of the pandemic in March, more than 2 million tests have been conducted in Indiana on 1.37 million individuals, the Indiana Business Journal reported.

But the seven-day average number of individuals tested has fallen to around 9,000. That's down from August, when more than 13,000 individuals were being tested daily.

Box said she understands that some people who don't have COVID-19 symptoms or only have a case of the sniffles may not want to get tested because they would have to isolate if they test positive.

“But if we don’t know who’s positive and take steps to isolate those individuals, we risk allowing COVID-19 to spread unchecked across our state, and that means our lives will be disrupted for a longer period of time," she said.

Box urged Hoosiers to respond to phone calls and text messages sent by the contact tracers Indiana has hired to help the state with coronavirus tracing.

From May through Sept. 15, contact tracers have made more than 477,000 phone calls and sent nearly 632,500 text messages. Box said 75% of those contacts have been successful, but stressed that it's important “to please answer the call or the text."

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