The Journal Gazette
 
 
Friday, June 11, 2021 1:00 am

State closing large-scale COVID testing sites

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana is shutting down its large-scale COVID-19 testing sites run by OptumServe Health Services effective June 30 – ending a significant testing phase and shifting to vaccinations instead.

“We are grateful to OptumServe for its work to ensure that Hoosiers had COVID testing available to them while we worked to build more local capacity,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said.

“Without their work, many Hoosiers who were exposed to COVID or showing symptoms might never have known their status. I have no doubt that having this resource available helped reduce the spread of COVID in our state.”

Indiana entered into a contract with OptumServe in late April 2020 when the pandemic was ramping up and testing was limited. At its peak, there were sites in 53 counties. Since then, privately run clinics and pharmacies began offering COVID-19 testing, reducing the need for the state sites.

In all, more than 541,000 free COVID-19 tests have been provided at an OptumServe site.

As of now, only 30 counties still use OptumServe locations, a news release said. They include one in Fort Wayne, one in Wabash and one in Columbia City.

The Indiana State Department of Health has also noted that local health departments received state grants last fall to open nearly 100 testing sites.

Box said demand for testing has decreased across the state and said free testing will remain available at more than 250 sites after the Optum sites close. To find a COVID-19 testing site, go to www.coronavirus.in.gov.

“While our case counts have fallen significantly, we must continue to take steps to reduce the spread of disease,” she said. “We remain committed to ensuring that any Hoosier who wants or needs to be tested can receive that testing in a location that's convenient.”

The first contract with OptumServe cost $17.9 million for a month of service, and it was repeatedly renewed and revamped. The cost was covered by federal aid, but messages seeking details on total dollars spent were not immediately returned Thursday.

nkelly@jg.net


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