Test Iowa site at Sioux Center opens May 27

Friday, May 22, 2020

DES MOINES Nearly 1,700 appointments were scheduled as of 8 a.m., Friday, for Iowans at Test Iowa sites across the state to be tested for COVID-19, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced as her press conference.

That number reflects the change Reynolds made in opening up Test Iowa to anyone who wishes to have a test done.

She said the opportunities opened up to be tested are important to those returning to work in establishments that serve the public.

"This is a resource you can use at any time," she said. She also encouraged police officers and others who are in contact with the public to take advantage of the opportunity to be tested.

New Test Iowa sites will be up and running in Burlington, Council Bluffs, Marshalltown and Sioux Center.

The Sioux City site was closed at 6 p.m., Friday. Testing remains in Sioux City through local health care providers as well as the new Test Iowa Site in Sioux Center.

The Sioux Center Middle School will be the location for Test Iowa site and will be open Wednesday, May 27 and Thursday, May 28, from noon to 6 p.m., according to coronavirus.iowa.gov.

Reynolds said in the early week of the pandemic, the state's focus was on mitigating the spread of the virus, to protect those Iowans that were at most risk of serious illness, and ensure that Iowa's healthcare resources would remain stable.

"We made significant changes to the way we live, work, we closed schools, businesses and limited our time away from home and in public, all with goal of avoiding of overwhelming our healthcare system and to make sure Iowans would have the care they needed and deserved no matter the circumstances," she said.

"We saw models, projecting staggering numbers of positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths across our state that would threaten to cripple our healthcare system. So we did what Iowans always do when faced with a problem, we created solutions."

In March, state officials met with leaders from Iowa's large health systems, to discuss their response, but more importantly how they would respond as one health care system to collectively serve Iowans.

"What I've seen since is an unprecedented level of collaboration among healthcare systems and providers across regions and organizations all in the best interest of Iowans," Reynolds said.

She pointed out the one system approach insured that Iowa had the healthcare capacity, resources and expertise needed to care for every patient.

"Because we're working as one team, we're ready to care Iowans whenever and wherever there is a need. This includes large regional multi-healthcare systems to our rural hospitals, and primary care and specialty clinics, home healthcare teams and our long-term health care facilities," she said. "I am humbled and inspired by the work of every physician, nurse, CNA, medical assistant, lab technician, respiratory therapist, every clinician and non-clinician who is caring for Iowans with COVID-19," she said.

During the Friday press conference, four persons from the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics,

CEO Suresh Gunasekaran, Dr. Katie Imborek, Family Medicine Physician and medical director of off-site medical care; Dr. Bradley Manning assistant professor of internal medicine and Dr. Kevin Doershug, medical director of the ICU Unit, told of their work in responding to and treating COVID-19 patients.

Imborek spoke of caring for patients in community with a focus to decrease transmission to patients and healthcare workers alike. The first step was to direct the person to telehealth, whether by video or phone, where it could be determined if a person needed to have a face-to-face meeting with a doctor or take the test.

This also included the respiratory clinic, performing over 10,000 swabs of those suspected with COVID-19, with the vast majority not even having to leave their vehicle.

"I strongly feel U of I healthcare's early and decisive actions led to a decrease in the overall transmission," she said.

Manning said a COVID-19 home treatment team was developed to care for COVID-19 patients at home, hopefully keeping them out of the hospital. If they needed to be hospitalized, they were brought safely to the facility with no contact with others.

For Doershug, it was important to keep as many people off ventilators as possible.

"We've done that a long time. We know how to optimize the ventilator. We're aggressive with using physical therapy, too," he said.

Gunasekaran added, "The improving circumstances in our state is because Iowans are doing their part, practicing good safety habits such as maintaining social distancing, wearing masks, hand washing and sanitizing, I encourage each and every one of you to keep that up as we continue well into our recovery."

Reynolds said she and the team are still evaluating some of the items in the proclamation that expires May 27.

"While I don't anticipate removing some of those regulations, I will update you next week," Reynolds said.

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