New drive-thru testing site added to state, more planned in southern Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Health officials opened a new drive-thru testing facility in Lake County as they continue to focus on helping those directly involved in the fight against COVID-19.

Lake County now has the second-most number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state behind Marion County. Health officials say they are working to test those most at risk. The Indiana State Department of Health is opening a testing facility at Merrillville High School. The site will focus on testing healthcare workers, long-term stay employees along with first responders and symptomatic essential employees.

The health department is also planning on opening drive-thru testing facilities in Clark and Vanderburgh counties in southern Indiana.

The news comes as the state health commissioner, Dr. Kristina Box, says the state now has more COVID-19 deaths than the average flu deaths that the state sees in a season. Dr. Box says the state usually sees around 154 flu deaths over the span of the 13-week flu season. Over the last 5 weeks, however, the state has reported 173 COVID-19 deaths.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many counties to issue travel status updates. As of Tuesday, 8 counties were under travel advisories and 27 counties were under travel watches. Two counties, including Marion County, were under travel warnings. Most of the travel status updates are in response to COVID-19.

The Indiana Department of Transportation says the varying status updates across counties is causing some confusion as people travel from a less restricted county into a restricted county. The executive order that goes into effect Wednesday will address this by not allowing local officials to issue more stringent travel restrictions than the state issues.

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