Demand for COVID-19 tests remains high, supply still low in Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It was one week ago, when Indiana health officials called on the federal government to send more rapid COVID-19 tests to Indiana.

As of Wednesday, there’s no word on how soon that will happen.

Because of a national shortage of rapid tests, the state is only guaranteed to receive about 11,000 per week. During a coronavirus briefing last week, State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said local health departments, the state’s mobile and IMS site, along with entities that include long-term care facilities, schools and jails go through about 50,000 rapid tests each week.

The limited supply forced state health officials to change who is eligible for rapid testing. Right now, only people 18 and under and symptomatic people 50 and older can get same day test results.

In the meantime, people are lining up to get polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests at record rates as well. It takes about 48 hours for those results to come back.

Health officials across central Indiana tell News 8 even if you have an appointment, you’ll likely have a wait.

The Marion County Public Health Department said it has seen a significant rise in demand for testing over the past two weeks.

Marion County Health Officials said they’re testing nearly 300 people a day at their main site. That location on North Rural Street is only offering PCR tests. Health officials said they can order whatever test supplies they need, but they do not get PCR tests from the state.

The Fishers Health Department said it has no update. A spokesperson said they are limited to what the state can provide.

In Hamilton County, health officials said they haven’t had issues getting PCR tests but have been restricted on the quantity of rapid tests they can order.

If you’re lucky enough to find an at-home rapid test in a retail store, your purchase will likely come with a limit.

A spokesperson with CVS said that “both in store and digitally, we’ve added a limit of six test kits per purchase. Due to a recent surge in demand, and to retain community-based access to tests in our stores, there may be temporary out-of-stocks for these products on”

News 8 reached out to the state health department to see if they had any idea when more tests could be sent here and have not heard back yet.

In mid-December, President Joe Biden promised he would send 500 million coronavirus tests to anyone who wanted them, for free. So far, there’s no update on how soon that online program will start.