MCW - dukeshosp 14

Dukes Memorial Hospital in Peru The exterior of Dukes Memorial Hospital in Peru.

PERU – A new COVID testing site operated by the Miami County Health Department opened last week, and should stay open through most of next year.

Testing at the site is free and available to anyone, regardless of symptoms. Children as young as 2 years old can be tested with parental consent.

Individuals are encouraged to pre-register online for an appointment through the state coronavirus website, but workers will try to accommodate some walk-in appointments as best they can.

The health department is partnering with Dukes Memorial Hospital, which is providing the testing location at its Boulevard entrance on 12th Street.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

Miami County Health Officer Christi Redmon said the site opened after the Indiana Department of Health began funding local health departments to partner with an entity to place more testing sites throughout the state.

Funding comes from a federal grant through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). The amount of funding in each county is based on population, Redmon said.

The supplies at the Peru location are being sent from the state, and grant funding pays the staffing costs.

Redmon said testing will continue as long as the health department is able to obtain funding, but she anticipates the site will be able to stay open throughout most of next year.

She said the site will be critical as the flu season approaches, increasing the number of people who will have COVID-like symptoms.

“Flu vaccines will be very important for everyone to obtain to avoid acutely adding numbers of potentially ill patients that may need to be hospitalized,” Redmon said in an email. “Testing for COVID-19 is important to enable contact tracing efforts to protect vulnerable populations as the state re-opens.”

She said the state testing site operated by Optum inside the Peru Armory will likely stay open through October, but the decision to continue operating beyond that will likely happen month to month.

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

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Carson Gerber is a reporter for the Kokomo Tribune and can be reached at 765-854-6739, or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

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