Demand for COVID-19 testing in Indiana continues to decline

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INDIANAPOLIS – Since early January, the number of COVID-19 tests reported to the Indiana State Department of Health has declined. The state is also reporting fewer positive cases.

On January 11, the average number of COVID-19 tests recorded was just over 45,000. Nearly a month later, the average dropped by more than 8,500 tests to 36,700.

The average number of positive COVID-19 cases declined by 3,600 during the same time period.

This comes as the state saw peaks in testing for COVID-19 in November and December.

“I think people are listening to our advice. They are still wearing their masks. They are still practicing social distancing,” said Betsy Swearingen, Director of the Johnson County Health Department.

Her department recently cut back on staffing at their testing site because of the decrease in demand. They used to run the location with two to four swabbers and a couple administrative personnel. Right now, they are down to one swabber and one administrative personnel.

Swearingen believes numbers will be skewed this week because their testing site was closed Monday and Tuesday due to weather.

“I do think they will ebb and flow a little bit. I anticipate that around spring break and after spring break we will see an increase in testing numbers again,” she said.

Brian Dixon, Director of Public Health Informatics at the Regenstrief Institute, believes the downward trend is likely occurring because infections have come down in the state.

The 7-day positivity rate is 4.7 percent, according to the state dashboard. It has not been this low since September.

“If the testing were to go down and positivity were to go up then we would sound the alarm bell that we need to do more testing to find those missing cases,” he said.

Dixon is also anticipating a surge in the spring.  

“As counties have fewer restrictions or keep fewer restrictions in place and open things back up to normal levels people may come out and transmission may occur,” he explained.

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