LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Indiana reported a surge of new COVID-19 tests on Friday as the state continues to expand testing sites for the respiratory illness.
The data accounts for a month — from April 7 to Thursday — but the 5,383 new tests represent the most announced on a single day since the first case was confirmed in March.
Indiana health officials say their goal is testing more than 6,000 Hoosiers per day. An analysis by the Harvard Global Health Institute and NPR released this week suggests Indiana needs to conduct 28,829 tests per day by May 15 to contain its outbreak.
Overall, 130,128 Hoosiers have been tested, with 17.8% diagnosed with the disease. The 33 new deaths reported statewide on Friday takes the total in Indiana to 1,328.
The death rate over a roughly seven-week period is now more than eight times higher than the average from Indiana's typical seven-month flu season over the past five years, according to state officials.
The Indiana State Department of Health announced 675 new cases of COVID-19. To date, there have been 23,146 infections.
Starting Monday, restaurants will be able to open at half-capacity and serve sit-down meals to customers under conditions that include requirements that waiters and kitchen staff wear masks or face coverings.
Even as parts of the state reopen, Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said people over 65 and those with underlying health conditions need to continue to be cautious.
"Until we get a vaccine, until we get medication that we know can treat and really knock this out for people, we still have to be very careful of our vulnerable population that we know are the populations that are likely to die from this disease," she said at a Friday briefing in Indianapolis.
Indiana launched 20 new COVID-19 testing sites this week under a deal with OptumServe Health Services, which is expected to add 30 more locations next week. Those specific sites haven't been made public.
People with symptoms, as well as "close contacts" of those who have tested positive for the illness, and residents of nursing homes and other group-living settings can be tested.
To register, go to lhi.care/covidtesting or call 888-634-1116.
In all, there are nearly 130 places in Indiana conducting COVID-19 tests, according to the state health department.
Preliminary results from a study of randomly selected Hoosiers to test for the virus and its antibodies are expected to be released early next week, Box said.
The study, led by the Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, aims to help show how widespread COVID-19 is in the state.
In all, Box said 4,611 people took part in the study's first phase.
Reporter Gina Glaros contributed.
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