‘It’s kinda a waterfall effect’: Demand for COVID testing rises in Fishers as school resumes

Coronavirus

FISHERS, Ind. — Hamilton County schools like Hamilton Southeastern returned to in-person instruction last week. 

Masks are not required on school grounds but are still recommended, especially after the Fishers Health Department identified several positive cases inside the school. 

Three days after school resumed, the health department identified positive cases from within. Students who had come into contact with the cases have been instructed to get tested regardless of their vaccination history.

“It’s happening suddenly. I wasn’t expecting it to be so fast. I’m concerned that it only took three days,” said Lindsay Davenport, mother of a Hamilton Southeastern High School student. “It is concerning that we went through all the trouble of everybody being vaccinated.

“We all got our both doses and waited our time and isolated the entire time, and yet we’re still sitting in this line waiting to be tested three days after school started.”

The Fishers Health Department, who runs the testing site along Municipal Drive with lines of cars occasionally circling the drive, says they’ve noticed a steady increase in patients pulling up to be tested in their drive through testing site. 

“The demand is just going up along with the cases and the case rates. Like we’re seeing statewide, like we’re seeing nation wide,” said Fishers Health Department Public Health Director Monica Heltz. “It’s kinda a waterfall effect.”

According to IN.gov, in Indiana, 20% of all newly tested individuals fall into the 0-19 age range.

“We certainly have had contacts identified of part of the school kids that are required to get tested and quarantine, and so I assume we’re seeing some of that as an outfall from that,” Heltz said. “I would say that we probably have a similar demographic of the people being tested. I can’t say that that’s changed significantly since everyone went back to school.”

Hamilton Southeastern released this statement Tuesday evening:

We are continuing to monitor the number of COVID positive cases and close contacts in our schools, as well as data from the Fishers Health Department, Indiana State Department of Health and CDC.

We recommend that all students and staff wear a mask while indoors, maintain social distancing to the greatest extent possible and frequently wash/sanitize hands. We are fortunate enough to live in a community with an easily accessible vaccination clinic, and we encourage those 12 and older to get vaccinated when possible.

Hamilton Southeastern

Despite boasting a population that is nearly 70% fully vaccinated, the health department in Fishers says more needs to be done. They wish the line at the nearby vaccine clinic was as long as the line for tests.

“We are very fortunate here to have a very highly vaccinated population that’s much higher, about 20 percentage points higher, than the state average on every demographic level,” Heltz said. “From a process standpoint, we don’t want any lines, right?

“We’ll add staff and that kinda thing, but it would be great if those lines were at our vaccine site center rather than our testing center and people were lining up to get those shots because that’s the single most effective way that we can fight this pandemic.”

The Fishers Health Department is hiring part-time staff to assist with their vaccination and testing efforts. 

The testing and vaccine clinics in Fishers are open to everyone, regardless of residency.

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