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VERIFY: Indiana's testing numbers - what's counted and what's not

13News looks at how antibody versus the diagnostic tests are treated and counted by the state.

INDIANAPOLIS — The 13News VERIFY team is getting a lot of questions about how the state counts cases and tests.


If a person gets an additional test to be sure of the results, does that count as an additional positive case or just one?


The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), which compiles the information and creates daily testing reports. 

What we found:

13 News can verify an individual with multiple positive tests is not counted more than once in the State of Indiana.

Here's how the state handles COVID-19 tests:

When a person gets tested, a record of that test gets sent to the state with the name, date of birth and other identifying information for the patient. Sometimes one person gets multiple tests for a variety of reasons. The system uses that information to cross-check for unique cases.

According to ISDH, A person who has tested positive is counted only once. In other words, one case equals one person no matter how many tests they've had.


13 News can verify the claim of multiple tests being counted for one individual is false.



Is someone with a positive antibody test counted as a positive case of COVID-19?


Indiana State Department of Health.

What we found:

It's a good question because there is some confusion about it based on the fact that different states count differently.

In Indiana, there are two main types of testing, but the state only uses one for counting purposes. It's called the diagnostic PCR test. That's the test where a swab is inserted into the nose. A positive COVID-19 sample means the patient currently has the virus.

The other is a test for antibodies known as a serology test. That's a blood test where a lab checks to see if a specimen shows an individual developed antibodies. Those antibodies are an indication that the person has had the virus sometime in the past.

"It doesn't tell us anything about an individual's current state whether they're infected," said Dr. Kris Box, state health commissioner. Dr. Box was speaking about antibody testing during a state briefing in April.

"It's not like the PCR that we do for the nasal pharyngeal swab to tell us that somebody is actively infected," she added.

That's why the Indiana State Health Department only counts people who have taken the PCR diagnostic test in its positive test data.


13News can verify the antibody tests are not counted in the number of cases.

If you have a story you think we should verify, send your questions to us on facebook or email us at verify@wthr.com. 

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