The Journal Gazette
 
 
Thursday, June 10, 2021 4:00 pm

Indiana health officials closing state's virus 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," said State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box. "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 an OptumServe locations, a news release said. They include one in Fort Wayne, one in Wabash and one in Columbia City.

The Indiana Department of Health has also noted that local health departments received state grants in the fall of 2020 to open nearly 100 testing sites.

Box said demand for testing has decreased across the state and noted that free testing will remain available at more than 250 sites after the Optum sites close. You can find a COVID-19 testing site near you by visiting 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 was $17.9 million for a month of service, and it was repeatedly renewed and revamped. Messages seeking total dollars spent were not immediately returned Thursday. The cost was covered by federal aid.

nkelly@jg.net


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