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Indiana Shutting Down State's COVID Sites After Giving Over 541K Tests

Newsweek logo Newsweek 2 days ago Maggie Gile
a sign in front of a green field: A sign asking to wear masks is seen on the campus of Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana on October 6, 2020. - The University of Notre Dame, one of America's most prestigious institutions of higher learning, is bullish on mask-wearing and social distancing to fight the coronavirus. Now, its president, the Rev. John Jenkins, is under fire after attending a notorious White House event with President Donald Trump at which both precautions were largely ignored -- and testing positive for Covid-19. Some students called for Jenkins' resignation but he survived. Jenkins is big on coronavirus safety -- back in August, after students returned to class and there seemed to be a spike in Covid cases, he did not hesitate to suspend in-person classes for two weeks. © Robert Chiarito/Getty Images A sign asking to wear masks is seen on the campus of Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana on October 6, 2020. - The University of Notre Dame, one of America's most prestigious institutions of higher learning, is bullish on mask-wearing and social distancing to fight the coronavirus. Now, its president, the Rev. John Jenkins, is under fire after attending a notorious White House event with President Donald Trump at which both precautions were largely ignored -- and testing positive for Covid-19. Some students called for Jenkins' resignation but he survived. Jenkins is big on coronavirus safety -- back in August, after students returned to class and there seemed to be a spike in Covid cases, he did not hesitate to suspend in-person classes for two weeks.

The Indiana Department of Health announced on Thursday it will close its free COVID-19 testing at the end of the month. It will instead leave that responsibility up to pharmacies, clinics, and local health departments.

Indiana teamed up with OptumServe to provide over 541,000 free COVID-19 tests.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said: "While our case counts have fallen significantly, we must continue to take steps to reduce the spread of disease. 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."

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She added that while OptumServe sites were closing, over 250 sites will still offer free COVID-19 testing.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

An increase in locally sourced COVID-19 testing has reduced the need for the Optum sites, health department officials said. Local health departments also received state grants last fall to open nearly 100 testing sites.

The 14-month partnership with OptumServe, a division of insurance giant UnitedHealth Group, was announced by Gov. Eric Holcomb in April 2020 to bring large-scale coronavirus testing to Hoosiers.

At its peak, OptumServe provided testing in 53 counties. Currently, 30 counties still have an operating testing site.

a person sitting at a desk in a room: CHESTERTON, INDIANA - MAY 13: Ralph Caron waits for a haircut at Grimaldi's Barber Shop on May 13, 2020 in Chesterton, Indiana. Recently, Indiana began allowing some business in the state to reopen with some restrictions. The governor had issued a stay-at-home order in March, restricting all but essential travel and a shuttering all but essential businesses in an attempt to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this order being lifted many businesses remain closed and many, that have reopened, report lackluster business as fears of COVID-19 continue. Scott Olson/Getty Images © Scott Olson/Getty Images CHESTERTON, INDIANA - MAY 13: Ralph Caron waits for a haircut at Grimaldi's Barber Shop on May 13, 2020 in Chesterton, Indiana. Recently, Indiana began allowing some business in the state to reopen with some restrictions. The governor had issued a stay-at-home order in March, restricting all but essential travel and a shuttering all but essential businesses in an attempt to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this order being lifted many businesses remain closed and many, that have reopened, report lackluster business as fears of COVID-19 continue. Scott Olson/Getty Images

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