CORONAVIRUS

Gov. Kim Reynolds orders reduced coronavirus testing at Dubuque site

Reynolds cuts number of COVID-19 tests to 100 per day as cases rise

Dubuque and the Mississippi River as seen looking north from  Mines of Spain Recreation Area near Dubuque on Friday, Sep
Dubuque and the Mississippi River as seen looking north from Mines of Spain Recreation Area near Dubuque on Friday, September 2, 2015. (The Gazette)

DUBUQUE — Coronavirus testing will be reduced to only 100 tests per day at a Test Iowa site in Dubuque, despite a sharp increase in cases in Dubuque County.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office ordered the site to reduce its testing, Dubuque officials announced Monday. The site will be opened only from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday. The site had been testing 400 to 550 people per day, the Dubuque Telegraph Herald reported.

U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer, whose district includes Dubuque County, wrote a letter to Reynolds on Tuesday criticizing the decision and asking the governor for further explanation.

“This month, Dubuque County has seen its most staggering case counts of the entire pandemic, and one of the highest days was just last Thursday,” Finkenauer said in the letter. “Now is not the time to be ramping testing down anywhere in our state — in fact, testing is needed now more than ever to identify and contain the spread of the virus.”

Reynolds’ spokesman, Pat Garrett, said in an email to media Monday that the governor ordered the test reduction at Dubuque “to ensure their process is in line with others across the state of Iowa. We want to maintain consistency and high quality performance across all Test Iowa sites.”

Garrett did not respond to follow-up questions about what processes were being questioned at Dubuque. He also did not say how long the tests would be limited or whether other Test Iowa sites have been placed on similar restrictions, the Des Moines Register reported.

Daily coronavirus cases have more than doubled in Dubuque County since June, according to state data. At least 23 people in the county have died from COVID-19.

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