IU Health begins testing for COVID-19 in high-risk people, health care workers

IU Health begins COVID-19 testing

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A local hospital has found a new way to test for the novel coronavirus.

Indiana University Health said Friday in a news release that it can now test for the virus using its pathology laboratory. It’s a big step forward in getting people tested quicker and ultimately controlling the spread of the coronavirus.

“Just in the last three days, to begin testing patients for COVID-19, they have literally worked around the clock,” said Joe Meyer, senior vice president of system operations for IU Health, in a news release.

“I think one of the most natural instincts is that the public will hear that testing is available and is that the green light to rush out and be tested. The answer today is ‘no,'” Meyer said.

Instead, health officials asks people to wait a little longer.

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According to the release, people who can be tested is limited to high-risk, seriously ill patients and to health care workers who may have been exposed to the virus.

“Our goal is to test as many people as we can every day of the week. Today, we can test about 400 people. Next week is about 1,000 per day. The week after that, we will be able to do about 2,500 tests per day.”

Officials with IU Health say they plan to use the test as a COVID-19 virus confirmation, not as a virus-screening tool.

Healthy patients with mild symptoms are still encouraged to self-quarantine for up to 14 days.

“Over time as our testing capacities grow, of course, we will have more tests available to be tested. That’s going to happen over the next weeks and months,” Meyer said.