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Box Says State Can't Test Every Nursing Home Resident As White House Recommends

Justin Hicks
IPB News

State Health Commissioner Kris Box says Indiana can’t test every nursing home resident and employee by next week, as the White House recommends. 

The state has repeatedly been pressured to release the names of long-term care facilities that have positive COVID-19 cases. But state officials refuse to do so. Box insists she’s not trying to protect anyone by shielding the information.

“What I am trying to do is emphasize the importance of that communication occurring between the facility, with the residents and with their representatives,” Box says.

READ MORE: Indiana Won’t Name Nursing Homes With COVID-19 Outbreaks

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Yet some family members of nursing home residents still say facilities aren't cooperating. Box urges people experiencing that problem to report it to the state.

She also says it’s simply not possible to test every nursing home patient any time soon, citing the large number of tests that would be required. But Box does say the state is working to get every employee tested.

“Either connect them with Optum sites or to actually do that testing in the facilities for them or to be able to provide them with the test kits,” Box says.

Box says she’s hoping to get every long-term care facility employee tested by mid-June.

A recent report from the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living – which represent long-term care facilities across the country – estimates it would cost Indiana about $13 million to test every nursing home resident and employee.

Contact Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.