North-side medical lab doing COVID-19 tests complying with CDC

The latest on the coronavirus from News 8 at 6 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A north-side medical lab says it can have COVID-19 results within two days and has already found patients testing positive for the virus in the area.

Aria Diagnostics, 635 W. 96th St., said Tuesday it has 3,000 tests available and can do up to 5,000 tests per day, but the business hasn’t seen anywhere near 5,000 people come through their drive-thru in the time that they’ve had it available.

In the last several weeks, Aria says it developed a COVID-19 virus test that complies with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The test takes up to 48 hours to get results.

“The CDC didn’t allow for private commercial labs to do this until just last week,” Aria Diagnostics partner Zak Khan said. “As soon as they did it, we found it incumbent on us to play a role to provide these tests to the community.”

With the volume of tests Aria has available, the business expected to be swamped with people coming to get tested, but the staff administering the tests says they’ve maybe seen close to 50 people in the two days they’ve been testing.

“How do we get out, more people, the word out so that more people get tested so we can start mitigating the risk of the spread of the coronavirus any further than it already has gone?” Khan said.

Not just anybody can drive up to the lab and get tested. Everyone through there needs to be referred by a physician. To get the tests to more people, doctors need to know the testing is ready and available.

“Whether they decide to test a patient or not has been from a position of scarcity because there weren’t enough tests. The test kits themselves weren’t available,” Khan said. “Now, we have plenty of test kits, thousands of test kits and the capacity to do thousands of tests since the CDC allowed commercial labs to do it, so, I’d strongly urge physicians to re-evaluate the protocol. Because now, we can test. So instead of testing or deciding the protocol based from a position of scarcity to test based on a protocol of a desire to test everybody so we can mitigate the risk of this coronavirus growing and spreading.”

In the end, it’s up to the physician if the patient gets tested or not, but Aria says it’s also up to patients to be their own advocates.

“If a patient feels they might have been exposed, they might reach out to the physician, let them know, ‘Hey, I might have been exposed,'” Khan said. “The other ICD-10, which is the diagnosis code in order to order the test, is actual exposure where they say ‘Hey, I was somewhere and I know that I’ve been exposed to coronavirus.’ Those are the two ways a patient might reach out to their physician and ask to be tested.”

Aria says it’s still trying to let physicians know that it’s available for testing. Aria has forms on its website to give to physicians.

Aria Diagnostics is an independent medical lab certified by the state. The state health department says it makes biannual checks on certified labs to ensure they’re doing things reliably, accurately and timely.

Also on Tuesday, MedExpress Urgent Care said it’s providing COVID-19 testing at its Beech Grove location. Testing will only be available to those who meet CDC-based screening criteria and as testing supplies remain available. Call first: 317-786-7950.

Indiana coronavirus timeline

  • March 6: Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) confirms the first case in Indiana. Officials say the Marion County resident had recently traveled to Boston to attend a BioGen conference as a contractor.
  • March 8: ISDH confirms a second case. An adult in Hendricks County who had also traveled to the BioGen conference was placed in isolation. Noblesville Schools announces that a parent and that parent’s children will be self-quarantining after attending an out-of-state event where someone else tested positive.
  • March 9: ISDH’s total of positive cases rises to 4. Avon Community School Corp. had announced on March 8 that a student tested positive; that case, along with another in Noble County, was confirmed by state health officials at a news conference.
  • March 10: ISDH’s total of positive cases rises to 6 as the state launches an online tracker. Purdue and Indiana universities suspend classes for two weeks beyond their spring breaks. Ball State University basketball fans learn the Mid-American Conference tourney will have no fans in the stands. Three businesses operating nursing homes in Indiana announce they will no longer allow visitors.
  • March 11: ISDH confirms four more positive cases in Indiana. The University of Indianapolis announces it will extend its ongoing spring break through March 22. The Indianapolis-based NCAA announces the men’s and women’s Final Four basketball tournaments will be conducted with essential staff and limited family attendance. The Big Ten announces all sports events, including the men’s basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, will have no fans starting March 12. Ball State University announces classes are suspended for the rest of the spring semester. NBA suspends all games, including the Indiana Pacers, until further notice. Butler University extends its spring break, after which it will go to virtual classes.
  • March 12: ISDH’s total of positive cases rises 12. Taylor University cancels international and domestic spring break trips for students and faculty sponsors. Indianapolis’ annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is canceled. Gov. Eric Holcomb announces new protections that led to extended public school closings and the cancellation of large events across the state. The league including the Indy Fuel hockey team suspends its season. Indy Eleven says it will reschedule four matches, including its April 4 home opener. The NCAA cancels the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. The Big Ten suspends all sporting events through the winter and spring seasons.
  • March 13: Gov. Holcomb announces additional actions — they included eliminating Medicaid co-pays for COVID-19 testing and lifting regulations limiting the number of work hours per day for drivers of commercial vehicles — to help stop the coronavirus. Wayzata Home Products, a Connersville cabinet maker, shut down and lays off its entire workforce due to market uncertainty associated with the coronavirus. The Indiana High School Athletic Association postpones the boys basketball tournament. Franklin College says it will have no in-person classes March 16 and 17, start online classes March 18 through at least April 5 and empty residence halls of students by 5 p.m. March 15. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis says it will be closed March 14-28. The Indianapolis Public Library joins other libraries across Indiana and says it will close all facilities until further notice beginning at 5 p.m. March 14.
  • March 14: ISDH’s total number of positive cases rises to 15. The Indiana Gaming Commission says all licensed gaming and racing operations will close 14 days starting March 16.
  • March 15: ISDH’s total number of positive cases rises to 19, with 121 tested. St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis announces all elective, non-urgent surgeries are canceled as of Tuesday.
  • March 16: Gov. Eric Holcomb announces the first Hoosier death. ISDH’s total number of positive cases rises to 24. Holcomb closes bars, restaurants and nightlubs to in-person patrons, while carryout and delivery services will still be allowed.
  • March 17: ISDH announces the second Hoosier death. Indiana’s Catholic bishops announce the cancellation of Sunday and weekday public masses. Gov. Holcomb activates the National Guard to assist as needed with the virus response. Purdue, Butler and Indiana State universities cancel May commencement ceremonies.
  • March 18: ISDH’s total number of positive cases rises to 39. Eli Lilly and Co. says it will use its labs to speed up testing in Indiana for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The 500 Festival announces suspends all planned, in-person events scheduled through May 9. Simon Property Group closes all malls and retail properties until March 29.
  • March 19: ISDH’s total number of positive cases rises to 56. Gov. Holcomb extends Indiana’s state of emergency into May. Holcomb says all K-12 public schools will be closed until May 1 and nonpublic schools also are to close. Standardized testing was canceled. The state’s income-tax and corporate-tax payment deadline was extended to July 15. Holcomb says the state will waive job search requirements for people applying for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. The IHSAA Boys Basketball State Tournament was canceled. The Marion County Emergency Operations Center upgrades to Level 1 status.
  • March 20: ISDH reports the third Hoosier death and 23 new cases for a total of 79. Gov. Holcomb moves the state’s primary election to June 2. Indiana University says it is postponing May commencement ceremonies on all campuses. Indiana University Health says it can do limited virus testing.
  • March 21: ISDH reports the fourth Hoosier death, and 47 new cases positive for a total of 126. A total of 833 people have been tested for the virus. Indiana National Guard details how it’s working with the Department of Transportation on distribution of medical supplies to hospitals.
  • March 22: Indiana’s death toll rises to 7. ISDH reports 75 more positive cases.
  • March 23: ISDH reports 259 cases of COVID-19, up from 201 a day earlier. Gov. Holcomb orders Hoosiers deemed nonessential to “stay at home” from March 24-April 7. Eli Lilly & Co. begins drive-thru testing for the coronavirus for health care workers with a doctor’s order. Ball State University cancels the May commencement.
  • March 24: Indiana’s death toll rises to 13. Fred Payne of Indiana Workforce Development says any Hoosiers out of work, including temporary layoffs, are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits.
  • March 25: Indiana’s death toll rises 17. Indianapolis Motor Speedway announces the Indianapolis 500 is moved to Aug. 23. IndyGo suspends fares and changes its ride schedules.
  • March 27: Indiana’s death toll rises to 25. Marion County adds 192 new positive COVID-19 cases, the most of any county in the state for the day, for a total of 484. Indiana has 981 confirmed cases.
  • March 28: Indiana’s death toll rises to 31. Marion County adds 100 new cases, the most of any county in the state, for a total of 584. Indiana has 1,232 confirmed cases.
  • March 29: Indiana’s death toll rises to 32. Marion County adds 92 new positive cases, the most of any county in the state, for a total 676. Indiana has 1,514 confirmed cases. President Donald Trump announces in a press conference that the national social distancing recommendation will be extended by 30 days, to end April 30.