Coronavirus Indiana: COVID-19 testing site opens in Hammond, Ind.

HAMMOND, Ind. (WLS) -- A new drive-thru COVID-19 testing site opened Tuesday in Hammond, Indiana.

Much of Indiana has loosened stay-at-home restrictions, but not in Lake County, which has a much higher rate of cases than neighboring counties.

The site located at 1231 E Gostlin St. is Hammond's first testing site.

RELATED: Latest updates on Indiana's coronavirus cases, deaths and response

"We have been seeing increasing numbers in Hammond, so this is considered to be one of the hot spots so it's very important that we continue to test people aggressively," said Lake County Health Officer Dr. Vavi Lala.

You must bring your state ID to prove you are a resident of Lake County and you must show symptoms of the virus. The site will be able to test up to 100 people per-day and will open for at least five days.

"It will continue to give us a better idea about how to continue to decrease the spread of the virus," Dr. Lala said.

The new location is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and test results should be available in 48 hours.

As Lake County ramps up its testing, elsewhere, the majority of the Hoosier state has already started to reopen, moving into Phase Two of the state's plan.

RELATED: Reopening Indiana: Restrictions on business lifted in much of state as part of Gov. Holcomb's plan

Phase Two includes: Lifting travel restrictions, allowing social gatherings of up to 25 people following CDC social distancing guidelines, the opening of non-essential manufacturing and industrial operations and retail businesses, including shopping malls may open at 50-percent capacity.

Lake, Marion and Cass counties will move to Phase Two at a later date.

Lake County has more than 2,000 cases of COVID-19, almost 10 times as many as in neighboring Porter County.

Lake County will start to enter phase two next week, but county officials say more testing is needed. They say if that date comes and they don't have enough good data, it's gonna be unsafe.

"I don't think we'll be there yet," said Michael Repay, president of the Lake County Board of Commissioners. "I fear that we won't be there. I hope that we can get a better handle on it but I'm afraid we're not gonna be there."

Business owners in neighboring Porter County said they are cautiously moving forward.

"What my fear would be is that a whole bunch of people come in and I won't be able to go ahead and regulate it," said Michelle Wagner of Chelle's Boutique and Garage.

Here's how reopening look in Indiana:

Stage 3 begins May 24, with playgrounds, gyms and movie theaters allowed to reopen.

Stage 4 is June 14, with bars and nightclubs allowed to reopen

Stage 5 is July 4; fairs and festivals will be allowed, and retail and restaurants can operate at full capacity.
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