DES MOINES — Gov. Kim Reynolds announced a high of 482 new positive cases of coronavirus and four new deaths on Tuesday, noting a third of the new cases were the result of more testing at the state’s meatpacking plants.
She also revealed Iowa is only the second state to begin assessing all its residents online and allowing for the testing of 3,000 more residents per day for the next 180 days, thanks to a new partnership the state has with a private company from Utah.
All Iowans were asked to take an online assessment at TestIowa.com, which mandates users provide their full name and address, date of birth, height in inches, weight, an email address and a cell phone number.
The questionnaire then asks people if they have symptoms of coronavirus, if they’ve been around someone who tested positive or have had respiratory symptoms in the last two weeks, if they have any underlying medical conditions, how many people of what ages live in their home, if they’ve been practicing social distancing and in what industry they work.
Those who qualify to be tested will then be emailed a QR code they can take to a mobile testing site, which Reynolds said will be set up around the state as needed in the coming weeks.
Black Hawk County health director Dr. Nafissa Cisse Egbuonye said Tuesday the questionnaire and process leaves out a lot of low-income individuals who may not have an email address or even the internet at home.
Individuals who don’t want to share private medical information, those who don’t speak English or undocumented people also may be uncomfortable or unwilling to answer invasive questions.
“The method in which they’ve communicated they’d do the testing is not really conducive for our community,” she said. “An individual would have to go online to answer a questionnaire and use a QR code, and some of our people don’t even have smartphones. You have to understand the community.”
But Black Hawk County is exactly the kind of “hot spot” officials are looking to get more information on, as Reynolds said Tuesday that 33% of today’s positive cases related to surveillance testing at meat processing plants.
“The information collected is critical to better understand the virus activity across the state,” Reynolds said, noting it was also important to know where coronavirus activity was not occurring so that she could “responsibly” begin to reopen parts of Iowa.
Of the 3,641 cases in 84 of Iowa’s 99 counties, 1,293 people have recovered, for a 35% recovery rate, Reynolds said. Another 214 were hospitalized across the state, 89 of those in intensive care units and 60 on ventilators.
Another four had died, bringing the state’s total to 83. More than half — 51% — of all deaths were residents of long-term care facilities, she said.
Black Hawk County was up to 366 cases in the state’s count, but county officials said Tuesday morning they recorded 374 cases.
Butler County added one case for a total of two, and Fayette County also added one case for a total of seven.
Grundy County added one case for a total of six, and Hardin County added one case for a total of four. Winneshiek County also added one case for a total of seven.
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