Summer Heat To Blame For Reduced COVID-19 Testing In Indiana

Jul 9, 2020

Employees doing COVID-19 testing wear considerable amounts of personal protective equipment.
Credit Justin Hicks / IPB News

If you’ve had trouble lately getting an appointment for a COVID-19 test – or if your appointment was abruptly cancelled – it’s likely the heat is to blame.

The number of tests reported by the state has been down the last couple of weeks. And State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said the summer heat is the primary reason.

Many of the state’s testing sites – principally those run by OptumServe – are either outdoors or in places without air conditioning, like state armories. And Box said testing employees can’t be put at risk.

“Once that heat gets up to be about 78 to 80 [degrees] and they’re in their personal protective equipment, they will shut down," Box said. "And unfortunately, in order to go as long as they can, that ends up being a last-minute decision.”

Box said the state is actively exploring other sites where air conditioning is available.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.