Ivy Tech Community
College’s Valparaiso campus has been selected by the Indiana State
Department of Health (ISDH) as a Northwest Indiana site for advanced
COVID-19 testing to measure the spread of the virus throughout the state.
Data collected will
provide “critical information to understand how the virus is affecting
Hoosiers and what may be done to protect the community,” according to a
statement released on Friday by Valparaiso Mayor Matt Murphy.
“As a community,
it’s vitally important to learn how widespread the COVID-19 virus has become
and whether or not many of us benefit from some immunity,” Murphy said.
“We’re grateful to Ivy Tech Chancellor Aco Sikoski and his staff for hosting
this testing for the local region. We value these important partnerships and
Ivy Tech’s ongoing leadership.”
“Data are key in
guiding our response in the fight against COVID-19 and our partnership with
Fairbanks School of Public Health researchers will provide high-quality
information to help shape our decision-making,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said.
Participants in the
study will be selected randomly to represent a cross-section of the
population. They will be notified by mail, text message, or phone.
In total, at least
20,000 Hoosiers will be tested for the study, which will be conducted in
four phases over the next year, beginning this past Saturday, April 25. This
first round of testing will include a pool of at least 5,000 Hoosiers from
across Indiana’s 10 emergency preparedness districts. Testing will include
both nasopharyngeal swabs and blood draws. The nasopharyngeal swabs will be
tested for COVID-19 within 72 to 96 hours, while the blood samples will be
tested at a later date for antibodies to determine if an individual has had
COVID-19 in the past. Participants will choose how they wish to be notified
of their individual results and collective results will be available after
the study is complete.
“Having the ability
to not only test for the presence of this virus, but also to learn more
about people who have been exposed in the past and might have antibodies
that indicate past infection, will help us fine-tune our work to keep
Hoosiers safe from this pandemic,” ISDH Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said. “We
are grateful that this partnership will make that happen.”