Gov. Reynolds COVID-19 update covers increased testing across state
During her daily COVID-19 briefing Wednesday, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said testing sites across the state are in full swing with another Test Iowa site set to open in Council Bluffs on Friday.
Reynolds announced today a state strike team is in Bremer County conducting diagnostic and serology testing for up to 1,100 employees of longterm care facilities in the area.
Test Iowa has made it possible in 10 areas for anyone who wants to be tested in the state to do so by signing up online, Reynolds added.
Almost 15,000 Iowans have been tested at Test Iowa sites as of Wednesday morning. On Tuesday over 2,000 Iowans were tested which is a new one-day record for the program.
As of this morning, a total of 139,000 Iowans have been tested since the pandemic began, a per capita rate of one in 23 Iowans.
Reynolds said the Centers for Disease Control has asked the state to provide a plan to test 2 percent of the population each month.
A unique testing site is opening today in West Burlington in partnership with Great River Health, Reynolds said.
Matthew Wenzel, president and CEO of Great River Health, joined the governor's briefing via video.
"At the beginning of this, we established a drive-thru test site but could not get it up and running because we didn't have the tests," he said. By reaching out to State Sen. Thomas Greene, Wenzel was able to make the connections needed to increase their capabilities.
"What should have been months took days to get the tests in the hands of our clinicians," he said and credited the governor's staff and medical workers, and would have credited more people but it would take too long.
Sandra McGrath, a registered nurse, an epidemiologist with Wright County and mayor of Eagle Grove, joined the briefing to discuss the efforts her team has made to increase measures against the coronavirus in their area.
McGrath said the county board and other officials including members of local health facilities made their efforts successful. "We could not have done it without them," she said.
Some of their efforts included reaching out to large-scale employers in the area to help them with vulnerabilities for coronavirus exposure.
With assistance from the state, they were able to test 900 employees in two days.
Reynolds was asked about a potential outbreak occurring in Buena Vista County near Storm Lake, and said the health department had not yet confirmed such reports.
Sarah Reisetter, deputy director of the Iowa Department of Public Health said the department will confirm an outbreak if 10 percent of the employees at a particular business with congregate settings are diagnosed.
Reisetter said serology testing is being done at some sites but the state is working with a laboratory regarding a test that does not require as large a blood draw to use. Reynolds added companies are working on producing a test that samples saliva.
Asked about outbreaks at longterm care facilities, Reisetter said they are announced when at least three residents have tested positive.