INDIANAPOLIS — A cybersecurity breach last month is changing the way the Marion County Health Department notifies Hoosiers of their COVID-19 test results.
Earlier this month, Eskenazi Health revealed some data had been obtained by hackers during a cybersecurity breach on August 4th. At the time, officials confirmed Marion County Health Department was also part of that breach but did not clarify whether the department’s data was compromised.
Thursday, officials confirmed the Marion County Health Department’s data was released online and the breach continues to hinder “a few systems for employees,” thus changing the way Hoosiers are notified of their COVID-19 test results.
“Obviously, we want to get people their test results back as soon as possible,” said Virgil Madden, the health department’s COVID-19 testing site coordinator. “We just want people to be realistic with the turnaround time.”
In the past, all Hoosiers who got tested for COVID-19 at the county-run testing site were sent an automated email with their results – positive or negative.
Now, due to systems being down, Madden said health department employees are only calling those who test positive for the virus. He said those calls typically happen within 24-36 hours, depending on the date and time of the initial test.
“Now with the negative persons, we’ve had some IT issues as you’re aware,” said Madden. “If you have not heard from us within 2-3 business days, you can assume that your test results are negative.”
Still, many Hoosiers need proof of a negative COVID-19 test in order to return to work, resume in-person learning, or visit certain venues.
CBS4’s very own Bianca Reyes needed proof of a negative test in order to see her primary care physician. Despite calling after three business days for a verbal result, she was told negative results would not be available until a minimum of five business days. Madden said that is simply not true.
“Unfortunately, at the health department, we’re human and mistakes will be made,” said Madden. “Because we wanted people to get their results back, we brought in several temporary people to help us. They’re no longer with us because they were giving misinformation. Not deliberately or anything like that.”
Madden suggests calling the health department at 317-221-5515 to request a physical copy of your COVID-19 test results. He said those results can be placed in the mail or picked up in person.
“As soon as we find out there’s an error or a mistake, we go out of our way to make sure it’s corrected,” said Madden. “Misinformation gets out that we don’t say but we never try to mislead people.”
Madden said those who get tested just before clinic close should not expect to get results within the 24-36 hour turnaround window. He said that the test likely will not get processed until the following business day.