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Antibody testing begins for thousands of Hoosiers

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — You could find out if you’ve unknowingly had COVID-19. On Saturday, the Indiana State Health Department, along with IU Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI, kicked off antibody testing.

The state is randomly testing Hoosiers to learn more about the virus.

About 10,000 random Hoosiers got an invitation to get tested to see if they had or have COVID-19. Most of the data the state has on coronavirus comes from people with the worst symptoms. They want to figure out just how hard Indiana has been hit by testing people who had little or no even symptoms.

Blood was drawn and noses were swabbed as Hoosiers volunteered to find out if they have any history with the coronavirus.

“The person participating in the study also gets to play a role in helping Indiana better understand the spread of disease and ultimately influence the decisions that will eventually- we will have to make about relaxing social distancing and other policies,” Dr. Nir Menachemi said.

But not everything was ready on time. Equipment and supplies weren’t in place at some locations when the testing was supposed to start and that delay rippled through the rest of the day.

“It was a little frustrating,” Erin Weaver said. “If I’d have known beforehand I would have brought a book.”

“Well, since this is the first day, you know, I’m sure it’s taking a little bit to get it set up and figured out,” Cathy Campolattara said. “I’m sure it’s taking a little bit to get it figured out, but it’s fine. We’ll wait.”

Even though 10,000 invitations were sent out for the first wave, the hope is that at least 5,000 Hoosiers come out. That way, they’ll be on track to hit their goal of 20,000 Hoosiers tested.

“The goal is not necessarily twenty thousand, the goal is four time points,” Menachemi said. “So we’d like to get to 20,000 across all four. But if we exceed that, that’ll be even better.”

Curiosity brought some people we talked to out to get tested, but this also gives the state the best information before opening up.

“Respond as soon as possible,” Dbenda Farina said. “Come out there. Do your testing so that you don’t- even though you’re positive- that you don’t endanger people’s lives, you know?”

“If it’s going to help the scientists figure out what we can do to fix this, then I’m willing to do it,” Weaver said.

Results should only take a few days to come in, and testing will continue through Wednesday. The next wave of invitations is set to go out in about a month or so.