DES MOINES — Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Thursday that testing at the state’s eight Test Iowa sites, including Waterloo, would now be open to “anyone who thinks they should be tested,” once they complete a TestIowa.com assessment.
Reynolds’ announcement comes after criticism that not many were able to get tested through Test Iowa sites despite the $26 million program’s ability to test 3,000 Iowans per day.
“In three short weeks, we have significantly ramped up testing,” Reynolds said.
The governor noted that the state had tested 4,636 people statewide on Wednesday, “an all-time high,” she said, and said more than 3,000 Iowans had been tested through Test Iowa sites each day since Monday.
“Later today, we’re opening criteria so that anyone who thinks they should be tested can be,” Reynolds said, noting the change would be effective late Thursday or “maybe until tomorrow.”
“So if you’re interested in being tested, please go to Test Iowa and take the assessment,” she said.
More than 475,000 Iowans have completed a Test Iowa assessment, but only a fraction have been approved for testing so far. In Black Hawk County, that number was just 5%.
Reynolds said, with the expanded criteria, those who have taken the assessment will now be able to schedule their own testing appointments.
“We get so hung up on testing, too,” Reynolds said, noting other metrics were available to Iowans to monitor the virus, like coronavirus.iowa.gov and the 211 hotline. “All of that is really good news for our ability to manage the virus.”
Iowa remained 14th in the nation among all 50 states and the District of Columbia for cases per capita. It remained 23rd in deaths per capita.
Adding Black Hawk County’s totals to the state’s, 16,159 people in 98 of Iowa’s 99 counties have tested positive for coronavirus, or 0.5% of the state’s population. Only Decatur County along the Missouri border has no positive cases recorded.
As of 10 a.m. Thursday, the state had 400 deaths in 33 counties, and around 2.5% of Iowans who have tested positive for coronavirus have died, with 88% of those over the age of 61.
The state remained at 37 long-term care facility outbreaks in 16 counties, adding 38 cases and eight deaths among residents and staff for a total of 1,529 cases and 218 deaths.
Five Iowa counties have had 2% or more of their population test positive: Crawford, Louisa, Marshall, Tama and Woodbury counties. Another three are over 1%: Black Hawk, Muscatine and Wapello counties.
Nine counties have had 10 or more COVID-19 deaths: Black Hawk, Dallas, Dubuque, Jasper, Linn, Muscatine, Polk, Tama and Woodbury counties.
The state has a 13.9% positive test rate, lower than Wednesday’s 14.1%. The World Health Organization recommends a positive test rate of 10% or less as an adequate testing rate.
The Black Hawk County Health Department reported seven more cases and three more deaths for a total of 1,869 cases and 37 deaths Wednesday.
The county has four long-term care facility outbreaks: Harmony House remained at 89 cases among residents and staff, Friendship Village added one case for 47 cases, Pillar of the Cedar Valley remained at 20 cases, and NewAldaya Lifescapes added four cases for a total of 17 cases.
Buchanan County added two cases for a total of 30 cases. Grundy County added two cases for a total of 19 cases.
Hardin County added one case for a total of 13 cases.
Tama County added nine cases for a total of 376 cases and 21 deaths. The county has two long-term care outbreaks: Pinnacle Estates of Toledo remained at 52 cases, and Westbrook Acres added one case for a total of 35 cases.
Winneshiek County dropped one case for a total of 20 cases. The state adjust numbers downward when a case is mistakenly assigned, officials have said.
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