Coronavirus testing criticized

Published: Mar. 13, 2020 at 6:25 PM EDT
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Could the recent wave of coronavirus related cancellations be blamed on inadequate testing?

Ind. Rep. Ryan Dvorak, (D) South Bend says the Indiana State Department of Health only received 800 coronavirus test kits from the federal government which he feels amounted to too little too late. “The first round of kits that were sent out had a bad re-agent batch so the tests weren’t actually working and so we only last week had the first sort of shipments to the states of a few essentially dozens of tests per state, which was the most critical time was when the virus was actually spreading and we had the opportunity to isolate those community carriers who were spreading it in the states.”

As of today, the Indiana State Department of Health had administered 73 tests. “In fact, the tests are so limited in supply that really, up until the last couple days, the only people being tested were the ones we essentially already knew had the virus. There are no community surveillance testing being done. There’s no attempt by anybody to track down where the virus is out in the community and isolate those people and because of that we’re now seeing these policies where we just have to close everything down because we can’t determine who in the community has the virus. We just have to try to limit everybody’s exposure to each other and that’s going to have a tremendous economic impact.”

Ryan Dvorak’s brother Brett works as a diplomat at the Italian consulate in Milan, Italy and Ryan Dvorak hopes Indiana doesn’t end up in the same predicament. “Him and his family are there and essentially the entire country is locked down right now. They’ve prohibited all funerals, public religious services, I mean they’re not allowing people to gather anywhere.”

While Indiana's State Department of Health has administered just 73 coronavirus tests, An estimated 50 to 60 tests have taken place in St. Joseph County which has partnered with two private labs to process samples.

Meantime, a man from Shipshewana says he has had a bad cough and shortness of breath for about a week.

Michael Nordman spends a fair about of time around the elderly and he recently visited Kendallville in Noble County which has had a confirmed case of the virus. Nordman thought he was a pretty good candidate to be tested, "The nurse came on the line and asked me if i'd been in, you know, any of the states, pardon, any of the countries that have the coronavirus. I said no. She asked me if i was in direct contact with anyone I knew of coronavirus and I said that i was in Kendallville where the virus has been, and i told her my symptoms and then she put me on hold went to talk to someone, came back and she told me that I didn't meet the criteria and then she hung up."

Nordman says his mother has COPD and that his job frequently puts him in contact with elderly Amish. "We should have the capability to be tested when we need to be tested."