SportsNCAA Tournament


IU Health to perform nearly 28,000 COVID-19 tests by end of NCAA tournament

As of Tuesday, 18,300 COVID-19 tests were administered
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Posted at 8:27 PM, Mar 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-23 20:32:57-04

INDIANAPOLIS — IU Health professionals are learning a lot from the process of providing COVID-19 testing for the NCAA tournament controlled environment.

“I think we’re learning that the bubble environment works and that we can maintain a controlled environment for events like this, which is incredibly important to our city and our state and the community at large,” said Clark Day, Vice President of IU Health’s Laboratory Services.

"We can actually do this amount of testing and this volume of testing every day because that stretches us. I think we also are learning how we support an event differently than how we support our hospitals every single day and patient care,” explained Michele Saysana, Chief Quality and Safety Officer for IU Health.

After daily specimens are collected from hotel locations, they’re brought to IU Health’s central pathology lab for testing.

“The testing is controlled, the specimens come into a dedicated space it’s performed in the latest technology high through-put equipment,” Day said.

This equipment allows for a quick turnaround of results which is key when it comes to the NCAA making important decisions regarding the tournament.

“The testing we do helps keep the tournament safe and identify if there is an issue,” Saysana said.

Taking on the testing for the tournament is no small operation. There are 50 laboratory team members, nine couriers, six site coordinators and more than 850 volunteers from across the health system supporting the effort.

“Team members are working 20 hour days in some cases volunteering for shifts that have changed on occasion, there has just been enthusiasm throughout and it’s just something to be a part of it’s wonderful,” Day said.

And while some of the test results have led to delivering unfortunate news to teams and other people involved with the tournament, it’s all part of the important effort to keep the controlled environment safe for everyone.