The results of COVID-19 testing done as part of the Test Iowa initiative have been validated by the State Hygienic Lab, Gov Kim Reynolds announced Thursday at her daily press briefing. The tests were found to be 95 percent accurate for persons with COVID-19, and 99.7 percent accurate for those who test negative.
Since Test Iowa was launched 23 days ago, the assessment on the Test Iowa website has been completed more than 400,000 times, more than 4,300 Iowans have been tested as a result of the assessment, and 4,000 of them have received their results.
As of Saturday, there will be eight Test Iowa drive-thru test sites.
“A lot has happened in a short amount of time. The rapid implementation of Test Iowa was necessary so more Iowans could get tested as soon as possible… Now, we’re focused on process improvement,” Reynolds said. With validation completed, more tests will be done and results will be available sooner than has been the case.
A dedicated Test Iowa call center will go into operation in the next few days to handle inquiries and resolve issues, she said.
Reynolds focused on long term care facilities in her prepared remarks, saying planning was started on addressing COVID-19 in such facilities even before the first case was identified in the state.
Still, there have been outbreaks (three or more staff or residents) in 35 of the 444 long term care facilities in the state. Of the total 318 deaths in Iowa, 180 of them – 57 percent – have been long term care residents. Better news is that 244 long term care residents have recovered from the illness.
Iowa Department of Public Health strike teams have gone into long term care facilities to test and to support staff with information and training. According to Reynolds, 95 percent of long term care facilities have taken advantage of testing provided by the state.
During the Q & A, Reynolds was asked why the Statehouse isn’t reconvening Friday, when mitigation guidance is being relaxed. “Well you know, everybody is gonna make their own decisions,” Reynolds said.
The capitol building will reopen Monday, but state legislators won’t return to work until June 3. “Everybody has to feel comfortable with how they move forward with this. Even though we’ve eased the mitigation requirements on some of our businesses… you still have individual businesses that are ready to open up… and others that are continuing to make sure they can do it in a safe and responsible manner. You’re going to see it across the board….. Iowans are going to take the responsibility to decide if they are ready to go out….” Reynolds said.
IDPH reported 386 new positive cases of COVID-19 Wednesday for a total of 13,675 cases in the state. There were also 12 additional deaths, bringing that total to 318.
There were no new cases in Greene County.