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Science & Medicine

Indiana Preparing To Increase COVID-19 Testing Availability Amid Surge Of Demand

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Demand for COVID-19 testing in Indiana has surged along with cases of the virus amid the spread of the delta variant. (Justin Hicks/IPB News)

Indiana is gearing up to increase the availability of COVID-19 tests in response to significantly higher demand.

The state is in the midst of another COVID-19 surge. The delta variant of the virus has contributed to a more than 400 percent increase in the average number of new cases per day over the last month. In that same time, however, average new tests have only gone up by less than 200 percent.

Indiana shuttered its state-run OptumServe testing sites after June. Gov. Eric Holcomb said he’s gotten reports that people are now having to wait hours to get tested.

“I’m actually, on the other hand, encouraged that people are going to get tested,” Holcomb said.

The state is calling up National Guard members to help local health departments. State health employees are being re-tasked to testing.

READ MORE: How Is Indiana Distributing COVID-19 Vaccines? Here's What You Need To Know

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And State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said the state is working to get more COVID-19 testing in schools as colds, flus and other viruses become more common.

“More cases of RSV, more cases of influenza are going to complicate the picture of whether this is COVID, whether this is influenza, whether this is RSV – and individuals are going to want to be able to be tested and rule out COVID,” Box said.

Holcomb said the state will have more announcements on expanded testing in the coming days.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.