STATEWIDE - Two efforts to head off a possible second wave of coronavirus begin on Wednesday.
20 National Guard armories, including the facility in Jasper, will begin five-day-a-week testing of frontline workers and patients with virus symptoms. The state plans to add 30 more testing sites next week. The 50 sites run by Minnesota-based OptumServe are on top of 84 local testing efforts around the state.
To make an appointment for testing in Jasper, you can call (888) 634 – 1123 or register online by CLICKING HERE.
Testing will still be limited to people with symptoms and those who have been in close contact with them. The state will pick up the cost, but patients need to make an appointment through Optum's website.
Governor Holcomb says the goal is to get testing into parts of the state which have been underserved so far.
Wednesday is also the first day for small businesses to purchase bundles of sanitizer and masks through a state marketplace. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation has set up the marketplace to match up restaurants, stores, offices, and personal service businesses like hair salons with Indiana-based suppliers.
I-E-D-C chief of staff Luke Bosso says businesses should try to buy masks on their own first. The marketplace is intended as a backstop. He's encouraging businesses to join forces to find their own suppliers -- he says the pandemic has created a market in which it's easier to buy masks in bulk than a dozen at a time.
The first shipments from the marketplace will go out Friday. Bosso says the state has nearly four-million masks and bottles on hand, with commitments for five-million more.
Monday will be the first day for restaurants to resume dine-in service and for personal service businesses to accept appointments since the state lockdown began six weeks ago, but face shields are a requirement for reopening. Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association president Patrick Tamm says the marketplace will be a lifeline for some restaurants who otherwise wouldn't be able to purchase the needed equipment.
But Tamm says it'll be a "challenging" decision for some restaurants to decide whether to open up on the first day. Governor Holcomb's order allowing onsite dining to resume limits restaurants to half their usual capacity, and Tamm acknowledges some customers may still be reluctant to venture out. He says restaurants will have to assess their price point, location, and market niche.
Indiana's two largest counties, Marion and Lake, can't resume dine-in service until at least May 18 under Holcomb's order, and the state's hardest-hit county, Cass, must wait till at least Memorial Day. Monroe County, including the city of Bloomington, has issued its own local lockdown through May 15.