State briefs

Indiana health officials announce COVID-19 testing expansion

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana will increase free COVID-19 testing across the state through a partnership with Gravity Diagnostics.

Under the partnership, the Kentucky-based company will provide staff and supplies needed to collect and analyze up to 5,000 COVID-19 tests per day, including rapid antigen and PCR tests, the state health department said.

The testing operation is expected to come together in a matter of weeks and have the ability to expand to up to 45 sites, if needed.

The new partnership will allow the state to offer testing in communities with higher need for longer periods, State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said in a statement Friday. That will allow mobile units to continue to host shorter testing and vaccination clinics in other areas of the state, she added.

Testing sites will remain at designated locations for fixed periods of time to increase the availability of testing in communities that currently lack adequate testing resources.

The agreement also offers the option to provide voluntary testing in K-12 school settings statewide, although details are still being finalized. Under that provision, Gravity will coordinate with schools directly to determine their interest in testing.

The contract will run until June 30, 2022, with an option to extend.

Purdue warns 300 students, employees over COVID-19 policy

WEST LAFAYETTE — About 300 Purdue University students or employees face disciplinary action for failing to comply with the school’s mandatory COVID-19 testing for those who haven’t provided proof of vaccination.

That includes 84 students on the West Lafayette campus who have been notified a second time that they haven’t completed required surveillance testing three weeks into the fall semester, Purdue officials said. A third violation could result in suspension from the university as soon as this coming week.

About 210 employees have received an initial written warning for not being tested. Those employees face disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Purdue is requiring surveillance testing, which could be as frequently as each week, for any students or employees who’ve not submitted documentation of COVID-19 vaccination shots.

About 82% of the some 55,000 students and employees on the West Lafayette campus have submitted vaccination proof, according to the university’s tracking.

Indiana University has mandated that all students and employees receive COVID-19 vaccinations unless they are granted exemptions or face dismal from classes or their jobs. The latest figures released by IU show 88% compliance but school officials haven’t yet released any information about disciplinary actions.

Marine’s body returned to Indiana hometown with procession

LOGANSPORT — The body of a Marine who was among 13 U.S. service members killed in a suicide bombing during the U.S.-run evacuation at Afghanistan’s Kabul airport was returned Sunday to his northern Indiana hometown.

A military procession marked the beginning of memorial services for Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto Sanchez, 22, of Logansport.

Sanchez’s body arrived Sunday morning at Grissom Air Reserve Base near Peru, about 80 miles (128 kilometers) north of Indianapolis. The procession then headed about 20 miles (30 kilometers) to Logansport.

People lined the route to show their respects, many with American flags, and jets flew overhead as the procession approached downtown Logansport. It stopped briefly downtown, where the hearse carrying Sanchez’s body paused under a garrison flag. The procession included Indiana State Police and vehicles carrying Sanchez’s family, followed by thousands of motorcycles.

Sanchez was among 17 members of his Logansport High School class who joined the military after their 2017 graduation. He died in the Aug. 26 attack in Kabul, where he had been transferred after serving as a U.S. embassy guard in Jordan, according to his obituary.

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