INDIANAPOLIS — Since June 15, anyone who wants a COVID-19 test has been able to get one at testing sites run by OptumServe.
The downside for northeast Indiana residents is that, while the region previously had three such sites, people will now need to travel to Kendallville if they want to take advantage.
On June 12’s state COVID-19 news conference, Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box announced that OptumServe was opening its testing to any and all Hoosiers.
In the early days of testing when resources were scarce, only people with severe symptoms would be tested. As time went on, that evolved into people with COVID-19 symptoms or symptoms of an illness with some health factor making them high-risk for COVID-19.
Lately, testing has been available to anyone with symptoms of an illness as well as asymptomatic people who have at least one high-risk factor.
Now, starting June 15, anyone will be able to get a test at an OptumServe site. That now also includes children under 12 years of age.
The announcement came the same day Indiana hit an all-time high mark for tests processed in a 24-hour period, with 7,838 tests taken in one day.
“We’re opening all of our OptumServe sites to anyone who wants to get tested regardless of whether they have symptoms or whether they fall into a high-risk category,” Box said. “Our testing capacity has improved significantly since the start of this pandemic.
“The bottom line is any Hoosier can get tested, period,” Box said.
Northeast Indiana previously had three such OptumServe sites — at the Indiana National Guard armory in Angola, at Lakeland High School in LaGrange and at the Community Learning Center in Kendallville.
However, the weekmof June 8, the sites in LaGrange and Angola closed up and were redeployed as mobile testing units around the state. The Community Learning Center site, located at 401 E. Diamond St., Kendallville, was still operating.
The test-anyone directive is currently only for OptumServe sites, Box said. Other sites may be testing more liberally, and Box said people can check the state’s testing site map at coronavirus.in.gov. Users can highlight local testing sites, which will include information about requirements to get tested.
Box said the expansion in testing will allow people to get a test for “peace of mind” if they want one, but may also help identify additional asymptomatic patients.
A prior study conducted by the state showed that approximately 45% of people with an active COVID-19 infection were carrying it asymptomatically.
People who are asymptomatic are less likely to test positive, either because they are not infected or possibly because the infection has not developed enough to “shed” virus cells to be detected by the test.
Box also reiterated a point she’s made frequently about viral testing — just because you test negative today doesn’t mean you may not be positive tomorrow.
Because testing only checks a single point in time, COVID-19 testing shouldn’t give Hoosiers a false sense of security to act recklessly in the future. Hoosiers should continue to wear masks in public, practice social distancing and maintain good hygiene.
On June 12, Box also gave the latest figures about hospitalizations across Indiana.
Approximately 26% of COVID-19 patients to date have visited emergency rooms, and 17% of patients overall have been hospitalized.
About 21% of those patients who were hospitalized were admitted to an intensive care unit, representing about 4% of all patients.
To date, about 73% of patients who were hospitalized have been discharged, with an estimate of about 8% of patients still in care. Overall, approximately 19% of people who were admitted to hospitals died while there.