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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Iowans later this week will have access to free, at-home COVID-19 testing kits as state officials begin transitioning its Test Iowa program to a self-administered model.
With these kits, Iowans can collect their own saliva and mail the sample directly to the State Hygienic Lab for testing, the Iowa Department of Public Health announced Monday. Results will be emailed to participants within 24 hours after it is received by the state lab.
These kits, available Friday, can be sent directly to a participant’s home for free or picked up from a designated site.
State officials said the Test Iowa website will be updated “to facilitate the process for requesting test kits and will feature a test kit site locator tool.” It will include a list of about 125 pickup sites across the state.
The program to provide an at-home coronavirus testing option comes as the state scales back the free, drive-thru COVID-19 testing option offered in the first iteration of Test Iowa.
Since the $26 million Test Iowa program launched in April 2020, the statewide program has processed 540,000 tests.
The Iowa Department of Public Health said it planned to formally close state-operated testing clinics and drive-thru sites July 16.
The demand for coronavirus tests has declined significantly in the weeks since the COVID-19 vaccine has become more widely available, public health officials say. Hospitalizations and deaths also have steadily declined.
State public health officials still emphasize the importance of obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine as the best way to protect against the coronavirus.
However, vaccination rates have been slowing recently. About 46 percent of all Iowa residents are vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the state coronavirus website.
This past month, the state lab confirmed the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus was the dominant variant strain infecting Iowans. Because this strain is more transmissible, some experts warn the virus can spread rapidly among unvaccinated populations.
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