Zimmer Biomet Donates 1,000 COVID Tests To Health Dept.

Pictured (L to R) are Matthew Scott, vice president of operations at Zimmer Biomet; Matt Linville, human resources senior director at Zimmer Biomet; Bob Weaver, Kosciusko County Health Department administrator; and Joe Thallemer, Warsaw mayor. Photo by Jackie Gorski, Times-Union.

Zimmer Biomet made a donation of 1,000 rapid tests for COVID-19 testing to the Kosciusko County Health Department Monday.

The tests were taken over to the testing site at the county fairgrounds after the donation.

The donation was made because of a shortage of rapid tests.

On Friday, Bowen Center announced its supply of rapid tests were extremely limited and supply shortages country-wide require rationing the tests. The Indiana State Department of Health issued a memorandum stating that due to supply shortages, rapid tests, when available, may only be administered to ages 5-18 and adults above 50 and all must report COVID-like symptoms, according to Friday’s news release from Bowen Center.

Monday, Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer said he reached out to Zimmer Biomet to see if they had any rapid tests two or three weeks ago, thinking it was a possibility.

Bob Weaver, Kosciusko County Health Department administrator, said up until a couple weeks ago, it was fairly easy to find rapid tests. He ordered a couple thousand every month, but now they’re in short supply.  Weaver said he was able to get about 500 rapid tests from Fulton County a couple months ago.

Weaver said the health department can still get the long-term tests that take three or four days to get the results. “But Bowen Center would certainly like to have a supply of the short-term as well.” He said the Bowen Center site at the fairgrounds is averaging about 150 rapid tests a day.

“We’re at a kind of peak of cases occurring. And we’ve got a lot of people, very worried, very scared. And they have symptoms. And there’s a lot of other viruses going around, but it’s that’s the first one they think of when they get symptoms and they want to get tested. So the demand for tests is extremely high right now,” Weaver said.

The shortages at the fairground has been happening for about a month.

Thallemer said the donation benefits everyone in the community. “We’re very appreciative,” he said.

“We’re super happy that we’re able to make the community better, give them some tests to make sure the community is safe,” said Matthew Scott, vice president of operations at Zimmer Biomet. “Any time we’re called upon to do things like this, we’re happy to take a look at it and try to do the best we can.”

It’s all about a healthy community and that’s why Zimmer Biomet is happy to help when needed, said Matt Linville, human resources senior director at Zimmer Biomet.

Thallemer said the donation is a very generous one to the community. “It’s not to the city, it’s not to the county. It’s to the community.” He said he believes the Bowen?Center will be appreciative their supply of rapid tests are up for a little bit.

Thallemer said he is open to other donations. “We’ll take them where we can get them,” he said.