INDIANAPOLIS – Mayor Joe Hogsett appeared on this week’s edition of IN Focus to discuss the city’s response to the coronavirus crisis, including a new initiative to expand testing in some of Indy’s most vulnerable neighborhoods.
Indianapolis’ 46218 zip code is a hot zone for the coronavirus, said Marion County Health Director Dr. Virginia Caine, and will be the site of the county’s first public COVID-19 testing site, at Eastern Star Church on East 30th Street.
Dr. Caine said she hopes essential front line community workers will take advantage of the new widespread testing.
“Anybody who works in the food industry, fast food, quick service type of thing, we want you to come out and get tested,” she said. “I really want to try to get as many frontline folks tested or have the availability to do the testing. Call us if you think you’re not on the list for essential service, and we will definitely make things available for you.”
To be tested, applicants will need to visit www.marionhealth.org/indycovid and register for an appointment.
Announcement of the testing aimed at Indianapolis’ African American community comes as the county health department released demographics about the toll the coronavirus has taken on the city’s community of color.
Dr. Caine explained that African American residents were three times as likely to be infected by the virus, 2.5 times more likely to be hospitalized and twice as likely to die as compared to white residents.
Medical analysts and elected leaders agree that virus testing results will be keys to determining an appropriate timetable to relaxing Indiana’s stay-at-home orders.
“There are real concerns about getting back to normal too quickly. We want to be responsible. We want to be responsive. We know how disruptive this period has been,” said Mayor Hogsett. “It would be extraordinarily dangerous, in my opinion, if we made the mistake of essentially trying to return to a complete sense of normalcy too quickly, running the risks that are associated with reinstituting the virus maybe even more aggressively than we have experienced it.”
Dr. Caine said the county was hampered in earlier attempts to open up coronavirus testing locations due to a lack of testing materials.
In the video above, Mayor Hogsett discusses the testing initiative and his thoughts on the timetable for re-opening the city’s economy.