Indiana’s virus testing falling short on sites, results

(Photo Supplied/CDC)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP): Indiana’s state-sponsored coronavirus testing program has not been meeting the levels of testing or the speed of results that were touted when it was started in May.

State contractor OptumServe Health Services was expected to have 50 testing sites operating around Indiana by the end of May, providing 100,000 free tests a month and providing results within an average of 48 hours, state officials said.

The state health commissioner, Dr. Kristina Box, said Wednesday that the company had 35 testing sites open, with results averaging 59 hours and sometimes up to 80 hours to become available. The program’s online registration site warns that it could take four to six days for results.

Box blamed the slower-than-expected results on a national increase in demand for test processing and supplies as the number of COVID-19 cases has surged in Indiana and other states, many of which aggressively lifted virus restrictions to reopen their economies.

“These are external factors that are beyond our control,” Box said.

OptumServe, which is a division of insurance giant UnitedHealth Group, has closed some testing sites because they were located in schools that are now preparing to reopen for students or were in non-air conditioned locations during recent hot weather, Box said.

The company has performed about 102,000 tests for the public at its sites, she said. That means OptumServe has just recently passed the 100,000 test mark that it had been expected to reach in May.