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Indiana Aims To Double COVID-19 Testing Capacity Through New Lab Network

Justin Hicks

Indiana hopes to at least double its COVID-19 testing capacity in the next month through a new partnership between the state, Eli Lilly and the Indiana Hospital Association.

Lilly, the state and the IHA formed a lab network across Indiana, initially comprised of 10 facilities (including the Indiana State Department of Health’s). Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box says those labs are already running COVID-19 tests, but their capacity is restricted because of limited supplies of reagents and equipment.

“The network will leverage the state’s buying power to more efficiently compete for supplies, equipment and for reagents with both the national and international manufacturers of those items,” Box says.

Box says to launch the network, the state bought $60 million worth of testing reagents. Participating labs will then purchase the supplies from the state.

Box says once the reagents arrive, beginning in early July, Indiana will double its current testing capacity. The state has been averaging at least 6,000 tests almost every week day for the past three weeks.

The new lab network will also use the state's buying power to purchase new equipment, likely beginning some time in August. Box says the plan is to buy different types of testing machines that work with different reagents. The goal, she says, is to ensure that a shortfall in certain reagents won't dramatically decrease the state's testing capacity in the future.

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

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