As Indiana state health officials ramped up COVID-19 vaccination efforts this year, resources were diverted away from testing individuals for the virus.
The state ended its contract with OptumServe at the end of June and closed the testing sites that had been managed by the company since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020. Those sites provided more than 541,000 free tests.
At that time, the state had 31 OptumServe testing sites and health officials cited a lack in demand for testing as a reason for ending the contract.
But within the past several weeks, the number of tests administered and the demand for tests has increased. The daily average of new positive cases has increased by more than 450 percent during the last month, and the daily number of tests has increased by 200 percent.
That level of testing hasn’t been seen since the spring, and some individuals have reported waiting for hours at testing sites.
Think you need a COVID-19 test? Here’s what you need to know.
When should I get tested?
You should get tested if you are showing symptoms such as a fever, cough, shortness of breath or loss of taste or smell, or if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also suggests that unvaccinated individuals be tested if taking part in activities where social distancing is not possible.
But what if I’m vaccinated?
The CDC recommends that vaccinated individuals get tested if they are showing symptoms and/or if they’ve had a known exposure to someone with COVID-19. Breakthrough cases are rare, but it can happen. Out of the 3 million vaccinated individuals in Indiana, only 0.225 percent of them have tested positive.
Where can I get tested?
Indiana has more than 600 COVID-19 testing sites available, according to the state’s dashboard. In Marion County, there are more than 100 sites available.
The sites include pharmacies, grocery stores, health departments, hospitals and doctor’s offices, and some locations offer the rapid antigen tests that allow individuals to receive faster results.
But not all sites have appointments available quickly, so you may have to be willing to drive to get a test immediately or schedule an appointment several days in advance. State officials said on Wednesday that they would be adding more testing options in the near future to keep up with the increased demand. This could include adding a testing option in schools throughout the state.
You can find a map with all testing locations here.
You can also purchase at-home testing kits from pharmacies. The Food and Drug Administration has authorized several at-home tests that are now available.
What kind of test will it be?
That depends on where you go. Some locations, including CVS and Walgreens, offer rapid tests, which can provide results within 24 hours. The diagnostic lab tests are more widely available and more accurate, but it can take several days to receive those results. Both types of tests involve nasal swabs.
How do I make an appointment?
Most testing sites have an online registration option or a phone number to call to schedule an appointment. Information for each specific site is available here.
Appointments made at both Walgreens and CVS will redirect you to their websites to fill out a questionnaire to schedule your appointment.
How much do tests cost?
Tests are free, and insurance is not required. But if you have private health insurance, you should bring that information with you. At-home testing kits can range in price, but the BinaxNOW COVID-19 testing kit is sold for $23.99 from Walgreens and CVS.
How do I get my test results?
If you were tested at a state community site, you can access your results through the state’s portal here. Private testing sites, such as CVS or Walgreens, will send you information on how to access results.
What if I still have questions?
You can find more information about testing here, or call the Indiana Department of Health’s COVID-19 Call Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 877-826-0011.
Contact digital editor Lindsey Erdody at email@example.com/. Follow on Twitter: @lerdody.