The mayor of Carmel is requiring all city employees to be tested for COVID-19, and he’s implored everyone who works in a nursing home or senior living facility to do it, too.
But he doesn’t think testing should stop there.
Next, he’d like to see employees at essential businesses – such as grocery stores and gas stations – tested, and eventually all of the nearly 100,000 residents who call Carmel home.
“You’d think $175 is a whole lot of money (to get tested), but a hospital stay could cost easily a couple hundred thousand dollars per person, so it suddenly looks like a very reasonable cost if we can lower the rate and save people’s lives,” Brainard said. “We don’t have 100,000 test kits today, but in two weeks we probably could.”
Brainard anticipates by that point discussions could be under way to begin lifting some of the physical-distancing restrictions enacted to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. He said April 9 that the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington projected COVID-19 resource needs to peak in Indiana between April 14 and 18, with new cases greatly reduced by May 1. By April 13, the IMHE models showed the peak as having already happened April 8.
“(The projections have) been changing in a positive way,” Brainard said. “It appears physical distancing and the closures are working to a certain extent. It’s going to be a time of tragedy locally and in the U.S., but not as bad as what was being predicted a week ago.”
Brainard said widespread testing to determine who has COVID-19 and who may have unknowingly had it and recovered will help officials determine the best course of action for lifting restrictions.
Still, Brainard said officials need to act cautiously.
“There’s a lot we don’t know yet,” he said.