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Free COVID-19 testing makes return to Boone County

“My grandma just passed away and COVID was something that she had and made her sick."
Free COVID-19 testing makes its return to Boone County
Posted at 7:22 PM, Jan 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-27 19:24:37-05

LEBANON — On a snowy day inside the Mental Health America of Boone County Lodge, Natasha Wise waited to be tested for COVID-19.

“I’m not feeling the best and too many people I know are positive right now so figured better safe than sorry,” Natasha Wise said.

Wise was among a handful of people getting tested for COVID on Thursday in Boone County. The county had just reopened its testing site Tuesday after a brief hiatus.

For Wise, getting tested is one way she takes care of her loved ones.

“My grandma just passed away and COVID was something that she had and made her sick,” Wise said.

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Wise has also seen firsthand how important it is to have convenient testing in the county that she lives in.

“Instead of you going out and infecting multiple people waiting for your test to come back, you are able to get it back immediately and know instead of just spreading it around as you continue to go to work,” Wise said.

More than two weeks ago, Boone County Public Health Department ran a COVID-19 testing clinic from inside Witham Hospital.

The latest COVID-19 surge forced the hospital to ask the health department to relocate.

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“Having such a large number of sick people into the hospital, especially during a time of the year when it's already really tough for the hospital, it was decided that it was not the ideal location for a testing clinic,” said Claire Haughton, public health educator for the Boone County Health Department.

During the recent surge, the county was testing anywhere from 200 to 300 people a day in a single four-hour window, Haughton said.

At times, they were getting people from Frankfort, Indianapolis and Brownsburg, so she saw firsthand the need for a testing site in Boone County.

So, Mental Health America of Boone County President and CEO Pascal Fettig decided to offer their lodge to the county so they can conduct the free testing.

“We are making it a little easier for the population of Boone County, but we are really helping anybody in the state that needs testing we desperately need to keep the testing going,” Fettig said.

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The clinic has PCR and rapid testing available at a time when the county has one of the highest test positivity rates in the state.

And for people like Natasha Wise, it’s a time when keeping loved ones protected is as important as ever.

“It's been maybe about three weeks since she passed away, so if you are sick stay home because some people's loves ones can't fight it,” Wise concluded.

Boone County has testing available on Mondays and Thursdays from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. and Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 2 p.m.-6 p.m.

The clinic, located at 810 Fordice Rd. in Lebanon, accepts walk-ins and appointments. Appointments can be made online You can sign up for an appointment online at the Indiana State Department of Health's website.