Lilly offers free drive-thru testing for COVID-19 to health care workers, first responders

Coronavirus report from News 8 at 5

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Drive-thru testing for the virus that causes COVID-19 will now be available for health care workers and first responders in Indianapolis, thanks to Eli Lilly and Co.

The testing opened on Monday to health care workers only, and on Tuesday will have expanded availability to include Indianapolis first responders.

Lisa Yancey works in the trenches of the COVID-19 fight as a nurse.

“I work labor and delivery in Indiana and also San Francisco. I just came back from there after two weeks. I feel like there’s definitely a risk of exposure.” Lisa Yancey, who got tested for COVID-19 on Monday, told News 8.

That’s why she came to Eli Lilly and Co.’s first day of free drive-thru COVID-19 testing, open for active Indiana health care workers, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals, who must have a doctor’s order for the test.​ Why? Because healthcare workers like Yancey are on the front lines and they are having a hard time getting tested for COVID-19.

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“I feel like I’m healthy in general. I would probably be OK if I were positive, but I just don’t want to expose older relatives, patients, other nurses,” Yancey said.

On Monday, News 8 saw an electronic sign at the entrance telling people in line to stay in the car with the windows up.​

A spokesperson for Lilly told News 8 they hope to test up to 1,000 people a day once they get up and running smoothly.

The Indiana State Department of Health is exploring all options for expanding testing, it told News 8 on Monday. And any drive-thru or mobile events have been run at the local level.

Hancock County’s health department office manager told News 8 they don’t have plans to open a drive-thru COVID-19 test site, but Hancock Regional Hospital offers a COVID-19 clinic.

Hamilton County Health Department administrator Barry McNulty told News 8 they’re in a holding pattern, waiting on COVID-19 test kits and guidance from ISDH about opening drive-thru test sites for Hoosiers. ​Johnson County’s health director said the department needs test kits and a lab, but they’re scouting for drive-thru COVID-19 test locations at the moment.

“The Boone County Health Department does not have plans for drive-thru testing. Witham Health Services currently has drive-thru screening at their Lebanon and Whitestown campuses. Witham is strongly encouraging that folks call their 24/7 COVID-19 hotline at 765-485-8777 for phone screening first, as that limits social contact. Otherwise, you can check out more information about their screening here. If people who are screened are considered a high-risk of COVID-19, Witham has the capability to test them,” Claire Haughton, the public health educator for the Boone County Health Department, told News 8 on Monday.

About drive through testing in Indianapolis and Marion County, Curt Brantingham, a spokesperson for the Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County and the
Marion County Public Health Department told News 8 “Drive-thru testing is being explored as an option in Indianapolis and Marion County, but no other details are available at this time.”

For now, Yancey was in a wait of her own.​

“I hope I’m negative, for sure,” Yancey said. “I would rather know.”

The results from the Lilly drive-thru testing come back in one to three days via an online portal. People’s doctors will also get the results. ​A Lilly spokesperson told News 8 the company is looking at opening up testing to the public in the future, but there is no timetable on that.