Iowa builds up to testing capacity goals

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

DES MOINES — Testing capabilities for COVID-19 have increased across the state to near the 5,000 tests per day which Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds said was the goal.

“We hit another high scheduled today,” Reynolds said. “At the State Hygienic Lab, we were just 93 short of meeting the capacity of 5,000 so as we continue to build out the testing options as well as really continuing our process improvement, we’re actually there. We have the capacity and we’re continuing to see Iowans use it.”

The number of completed tests surpassed 4,000 a total of seven times in the two weeks from May 12-26 after not having reached that level prior to that.

“Through testing, we’re able to identify and isolate positive cases, as well as help Iowans recover,” Reynolds said. “We’re able to conduct case investigations to trace contacts and determine the scope of the virus in communities across Iowa.”

The Test Iowa program has set up drive-through testing sites across the state which has led to more Iowans being tested. After first being targeted for certain populations, now anyone can be tested at a Test Iowa site which now include 10 sites across Iowa including one open in Sioux Center on May 27-28. While the Test Iowa program has expanded access to testing to more Iowans, Reynolds said it’s still not the only option for those seeking testing.

“We need to make sure that Test Iowa is not the only testing option,” Reynolds said. “We have a whole host of options. It’s another tool in the toolbox. They also have the option to be tested through clinics and hospitals. Our FQHCs (Federally Qualified Health Center) have been tremendous partners across the state in providing testing opportunities.”

While testing has increased to a point where 1 in every 23 Iowans has been tested, the number of positive cases identified has dropped from its peak in late April with the number of active positive cases showing a decline since peaking in the first week of May.

In Plymouth County, there have been 118 confirmed positive cases and 78 of those have gone on to recover. Over 1,000 Plymouth County residents have been tested for a rate of 1 in every 25 county residents being tested.

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