Holcomb, state leaders announce new community COVID-19 testing effort


INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box announced a new coronavirus testing effort during Wednesday’s briefing.

After relaying the state’s latest COVID-19 data, Dr. Box said the Indiana Department of Health (ISDH) is partnering with local health departments to add nearly 100 community testing sites.

“Our goal throughout this pandemic has been to increase access to testing, and we developed this option as a way to get creative about offering testing for Hoosiers,” said Dr. Box.

Three dozen local testing sites are scheduled to be open by the end of this week, with nearly 60 other locations scheduled to open by Oct. 1. Some counties are partnering with neighboring counties. More than 10 counties, including Lake, Porter, St. Joseph, Marion, Hamilton and Allen, are opening multiple sites.

ISDH will provide more than $30 million in CARES Act funding to increase access to Hoosiers over the next two years.

Dr. Box said all 94 local health departments in Indiana were invited to apply to the state for the grants to launch testing operations.

“We want every Hoosier to be able to find testing when they need it so that we can reduce the spread of COVID in our communities, and we are thrilled to be able to support those efforts through our local health departments.”

The local health department sites will provide free testing. Click here for which communities are participating.

Hoosiers also can access no-cost testing without a physician’s note or symptoms at any of the 39 state-sponsored OptumServe sites currently in operation.

Since last week’s update, the state launched a new color-coded map of counties so schools can get the information they need to make decisions on how to hold classes safely.

Each color comes with a set of recommendations. The state will not mandate any school to halt in-person instruction based on any of these levels.

Also since the last briefing, the Indianapolis Colts announced they would allow up to 2,500 people inside Lucas Oil Stadium for the first game of the season. Here’s a look at their safety plan.

Indiana will remain in Stage 4.5 of Holcomb’s “Back on Track” plan through Sept. 25. The mask mandate will also continue through the same date. 

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 720 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, and 17 new deaths, raising the totals to 101,485 and 3,173 respectively.

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