CLARKSVILLE — Health officials in Clark County have doubled capacity at one of the county’s five COVID-19 testing sites in response to overwhelming demand from residents.
In mid-May, a state-sponsored site hosted by OptumServe opened at the Clarksville Community Center on Gwin Drive to serve those wishing to get tested for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. In its first days, the site was operating at about 75% of its 144-patient-per-day capacity, but Clark County Health Officer Dr. Eric Yazel said the need has outgrown the testing capability there, and this week the health department sought and received resources to double that.
On Thursday, staff at the site performed 269 tests, just under 20 fewer than its new capacity of 288 per day. Between its opening May 13 through the end of Thursday, there were 5,147 tests performed.
“Being able to double our capacity is a really really big deal,” Yazel said this week after he had requested the expansion from the state. “We’ve been blowing the daily recommends out of the water. That’s a good thing to actually let us max out at 288 a day.”
Yazel said the site has been seeing high volumes since the start, consistently north of 100 people per day. But he said since there have been new exposures in the area from recent events, “It’s been over the max like 130s, 140s...I think they even had a 170-person day,” he said. “With that and school starting up, that’s why we pulled the trigger on the double capacity.”
The Clarksville location has the lowest barriers of any of the sites in Clark or Floyd County, allowing anyone who lives or works in Indiana to get tested even without symptoms or a doctor’s note. It’s no cost to the patient, but insurance information will be taken if available. Test results are ready in 48 to 72 hours, but may take longer depending on national testing activity, the OptumServe website says.
There are also four other sites in Jeffersonville or New Albany, although they have varying requirements for testing including having symptoms, being in a high-risk group or having a doctor’s note.
As of the end of Thursday, there had been 678,749 tests reported to the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) from all 92 counties — 10,005 of these performed on Clark County residents and 7,126 on Floyd County residents.
Statewide, Indiana saw it’s biggest one-day surge in cases since the pandemic began with 1,011 new cases reported Thursday. This follows a record 954 the previous day. The most recent one-day total close to this was on April 26 with 946 new cases. Since that day, cases were the lowest in the state in mid-June. In total, there have been 60,589 cases reported statewide.
In Clark County, there were 869 cases among residents listed by the state Thursday, 29 more than was reported the previous day. In Floyd County, 543 cases were identified among residents, 21 more than were reported the previous day.
There have been 2,687 deaths statewide — 51 among Clark County residents as of July 20 and 44 among Floyd County residents as of July 22, county health departments confirmed.
Demographics data from the ISDH show a shift in the age groups contracting the virus. As of Thursday, 20- to 29-year-olds made up the largest group of people to test positive, but made up only 0.3% of those to die from the disease. Those 80 and above remained at the highest risk for dying from the disease at 51.7%.
In Clark County, 40- to 49-year olds and 50- to 59-year olds were the two groups with the highest instance of positive cases — 17.4% of all cases in each of the categories. Those 70 to 79 accounted for 42.2% of the deaths in Clark County.
Floyd County’s number’s also showed a peak in younger adults getting the disease — 20- to 29-year old made up 15.5% of cases while those 80 and above made up 15.1%. Those 80 and older made up 61.4% of deaths in the county, and no deaths of anyone younger than 50 has been reported there.
White Hoosiers remain the largest racial demographic to both contract the virus and to die from it, but Black Hoosiers are still disproportionately testing positive and dying compared to population, while having fewer tests.
Statewide, white residents (85.1% of Indiana’s population) made up 46% of positive cases as of Thursday, 64.6% of deaths and 57.6% of those tested.
Black residents (9.8% of Indiana’s population) made up 11.3% of cases as of Thursday, 14% of deaths in the state and 8.2% of those tested.
Women remain more likely to contract the virus, and men more likely to die from it.