Citing Indiana Department of Health guidance, the Allen County Department of Health said today it would limit the use of rapid COVID-19 antigen testing at its public test site, 5750 Falls Drive.
The department said it will now need to reserve rapid tests for anyone 18 and younger as well as symptomatic individuals ages 50 and older. Polymerase chain reaction tests, whose results are typically returned in two to three days, remain available to anyone, regardless of age or symptoms, it said.
“While it's disappointing to be asked to scale back such an important service to our community, we are seeing our supplies dwindle without replacement, and this will allow the Department of Health to conserve some resources to provide rapid tests to those who need it,” said Mindy Waldron, Allen County Department of Health administrator, in the statement.
The Indiana Department of Health said the change was necessary because of "the national shortage of rapid antigen tests, and is designed to help ensure that students can stay in school and that Hoosiers who are most likely to need a monoclonal antibody are identified within the prescribed window in which they can be administered."
Indiana typically uses about 50,000 rapid tests per week, but is only guaranteed to receive 11,000 a week right now, the state health department said.
It said appointments for rapid tests at state and local health department clinics previously scheduled for today, but not on future days, would be honored while testing supplies last.
The Allen County health department said more than 77,000 county residents have so far tested positive for COVID-19 -- about 41,000 through PCR testing and 36,000 via rapid testing.
The Falls Drive clinic remains open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. Appointments can be made at https://www.allencountyhealth.com/get-tested/covid-19-testing/ and https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/covid-19-testing-information/.
There are more than 650 testing sites in Indiana, including 29 in Allen County, the department said.