116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The state will continue to report positive COVID-19 tests on its coronavirus website following the closure of its Test Iowa sites.
On Wednesday, state officials announced they were closing the $26 million free coronavirus testing program by July 16. Test Iowa, which launched in April 2020, conducted free COVID-19 tests across 17 drive-through and clinic sites.
Test Iowa sites will stagger closures over the next five weeks, according to state officials.
Though the Test Iowa sites are going away, COVID-19 test results from other entities — which must be reported to the state public health department — will continue to be included in the daily updates to the state’ website.
“We are consistently evaluating our reporting methods and will continue to look at ways we can provide data to Iowans,” Iowa Department of Public Health spokeswoman Sarah Ekstrand said in an email to The Gazette.
State officials also announced the Iowa Department of Public Health and the State Hygienic Lab are finalizing plans to provide at-home test kits for free to Iowans after the Test Iowa program ends.
No details are yet available on those kits, and officials haven’t said whether those results would be reported in the coronavirus website’s data.
State officials also did not say how long they would continue to update the state’s coronavirus website, which also reports hospitalizations, deaths and vaccine doses administered.
Test Iowa opened its first drive-through site on April 25, 2020, after Gov. Kim Reynolds awarded a no-bid contract to a Utah-based tech company, Nomi Health.
Since then, Test Iowa has tested approximately 644,000 for COVID-19, according to state officials. Testing was at its highest on Nov. 23, 2020, when more than 6,700 individuals were tested on a single day.
Within the first weeks of launching, Test Iowa was plagued with challenges, drawing criticism of Reynolds and the state health department. It took three weeks for the state hygienic lab to validate its equipment and process, but even in the weeks that followed, news reports showed many Iowans experienced significant delays in receiving their test results.
State officials continue to encourage Iowans to get tested for COVID-19 if they experience symptoms. People also should be tested if they have been exposed to an individual who has tested positive but have not been fully vaccinated yet.
The public health department said Iowans aged 12 and older to be vaccinated against the disease.
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