COVID surge keeping Indianapolis Motor Speedway testing, vaccination site busy

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A surge in COVID-19 cases has testing sites busier than ever. On Monday evening, people showed up at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for testing and vaccinations. News 8 also spotted people lining up downtown at another free COVID testing site on Pennsylvania Street.

Those waiting expected to see long lines, but showed up anyway. Miguel Gonzales told News 8 that he wanted to be certain about the status of his health after attending holiday functions surrounded by people.  

“This a really awesome opportunity to get yourself tested. You know, even if you don’t feel like it, we just, you know, out of curiosity, for the safety of everybody else. And it’s really good because you don’t have to pay for something like this,” said Gonzales.

The holidays are one reason why Indiana State Department of Health decided to extend its COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the IMS through Jan. 22.  

According to ISDH officials, the IMS site performed more than 3,100 tests Monday through Wednesday of last week. Crews also administered more than 2,800 vaccines. Among those tested, approximately 15% were positive.

In the last month, more than 9,200 COVID tests have been administered at the site, along with nearly 12,400 vaccines, two-thirds of which were boosters.

And it’s not just here in Indiana. There’s been a growing demand for COVID-19 testing across the country with omicron on a fast track. According to Johns Hopkins data, the daily rate of cases has surpassed the numbers seen with the delta strain over the summer.

“We’ve all really accepted that COVID is here to stay — the coronavirus is going to be endemic, meaning it’s always going to be around,” said Dr. Elizabeth Clayborne, an emergency physician with the University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center.

So, if you decide to get tested, vaccinated or a boosted, pack your patience. Folks are saying it’s worth the wait.