INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — COVID-19 testing is once again a top priority for the Indiana State Department of Health.
Seven sites will move around the state to help keep hospitals from overcrowding, and hopefully prevent another winter surge.
On Wednesday, health officials explained the purpose behind the ramped up efforts at a pop-up clinic at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said the hope is that more mobile testing and vaccine sites could keep Hoosiers from being hospitalized.
“Do I expect the case loads to be as high and as bad as they have been in the past? God willing, no that won’t be the case. But what I will say is we will see times where this will elevate and go back down,” Box said.
Currently, the state’s data is trending down. However, Box said cases are still running higher than last year, and that is bound to put stress on hospitals.
“That will probably continue as we go into flu season. A lot of Hoosiers have put off their routine health care that they needed and the routine health care, so now we’re seeing surgeries associated with cancer, heart surgeries being done and orthopedic cases that have been put off. That will add on to the fact that we will have covid on going on we will have influenza,” Box said.
The state is already providing relief to health care workers by placing five teams made up of 10 National Guard members in crowded hospitals. Here in Indianapolis, they’re stationed at Ascension St. Vincent Hospital. The teams have also been deployed to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, Jeffersonville’s Clark Memorial Hospital and the Methodist Hospital campuses in Gary and Merrillville.
“They are there for seven days and then we reassess at seven days for the additional seven days,” Box said.
Box said clearing up space in hospitals will ultimately come down to more people getting their shot. With 95% of hospitalizations being in people who are unvaccinated, she said the trends should be telling enough.
“That is how we are going to change in the long run what this looks like for next winter and for the spring,” Box said.
The clinic at IMS started a week ago and runs through the end of October. It’s open from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.