Update to Iowa’s COVID-19 testing program

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD) and the State Hygienic Lab (SHL) are adjusting the state’s approach to provide Iowans convenient access to free COVID-19 testing statewide.

The recently launched testing locator map at coronavirus.iowa.gov helps Iowans find testing near them by entering a city or zip code. The map includes all Test Iowa test kit pick-up sites and locations across the state where in-person testing is available. The tool also includes an overview of the types of tests offered and associated costs. The testing locator will be updated regularly as more locations are submitted by providers.

To provide more timely results to symptomatic Iowans, seven Test Iowa pick-up sites will also provide same day delivery to SHL. This change is being made to expedite test processing. Samples dropped off Monday-Friday at the seven sites will be collected and delivered daily to the SHL by a contracted courier service. Visit testiowa.com for details.

Increased demand for testing is putting additional strain on health care clinics and emergency rooms. To ensure that Iowa’s health care resources are available for those who need care, IDPH recommends that Iowans consider the following testing options based on their circumstances:

  • Iowans with mild symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or those who have been exposed to a COVID positive individual should seek testing in a health care setting or use Test Iowa at home.
  • Iowans seeking testing for travel or other proactive purposes should purchase a home test kit from a retailer or pharmacy, or schedule an appointment at a local pharmacy.
  • Individuals experiencing severe symptoms or those who are at high risk of serious illness should seek should seek medical care.

Consistently, between 75%-80% of Iowans recently hospitalized due to COVID-19 were unvaccinated when they became infected, and 80-90% of those admitted to an intensive care unit were unvaccinated.

The number of vaccinated Iowans continues to grow. According to the CDC, 71% of Iowans over the age of 18 have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and nearly 69% of Iowa’s total vaccine eligible population, which includes those 12 years of age and older, have received at least one dose. Iowans age 65 and older have achieved the highest vaccination rate at 92%.

IDPH says these figures underscore how essential it is for all Iowans who are eligible to get vaccinated for COVID-19, as the vaccine is the best tool available to keep people healthy and prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death from the COVID-19 virus.

Finally, as flu season approaches, IDPH urges all Iowans to get the flu vaccine. By getting vaccinated for both influenza and COVID-19, IDPH says people can prevent avoidable hospitalizations and help preserve health care resources for other needs, including illnesses, injuries and emergencies. Anyone with questions about either vaccine should reach out to their health care provider.

 

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