NCAA tournament tests won’t be included in state’s public dashboard

When dozens of college basketball teams and their fans travel to Indiana for March Madness in a few weeks, players and coaches will be tested for COVID-19 daily, but those tests will not be reflected in the state’s public dashboard.

The Indiana Department of Health told IBJ that the state’s COVID-19 testing data, which has been updated daily since the pandemic began almost a year ago, only includes information on Indiana residents.

And that policy will not be changing when the NCAA’s Men’s Basketball Tournament brings thousands of out-of-state athletes, journalists, coaches, trainers, family members and fans to Indianapolis, West Lafayette and Bloomington. The tournament begins March 18.

Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said the lab data for any out-of-state individual who is tested in Indiana during the tournament will be forwarded to the state he or she lives in.

The NCAA has hired Indiana University Health to provide health-related support, including administering daily COVID-19 tests to athletes and coaches.

All players, coaches, athletic trainers, physical therapists, medical staff and equipment staff are required to provide documentation of seven consecutive negative COVID-19 tests prior to arriving in Indianapolis.

And participating teams will be in a tournament bubble, similar to how the NBA conducted its season last year in Orlando. Family members and other traveling fans will not be allowed to interact with the teams. The NCAA announced Friday that it would allow 25% spectator capacity at each venue for fans, although Indiana University is limiting capacity to 500 per game at Assembly Hall, where First Four and first-round games are scheduled March 18-20.

But any out-of-state individual who travels to Indiana for the tournament and is tested here will not be reflected in the state’s COVID-19 data.

Even student athletes from Indiana schools—if they make the tournament—could be excluded from Indiana’s data depending on the address they provide. The state health department’s policy to include only Indiana residents in its dashboard means that data from Indiana college students won’t be included if they provide an out-of-state address when they register to get tested.

That policy is similar to the one the state follows for individuals who work in Indiana but live in a neighboring state. When they are tested here, their results are not shown in the data.

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