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Reynolds Says State Will Process 5,000 COVID-19 Tests Daily

Charlie Neibergall, Pool
AP Photo
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds updates the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak during a news conference at the State Emergency Operations Center, Thursday, May 14, in Johnston.

Gov. Kim Reynolds said now that Test Iowa’s equipment has been validated, the state will soon be able to process 5,000 COVID-19 tests a day.

At a press conference on Thursday, Reynolds said the State Hygienic Lab successfully validated the program’s equipment on Wednesday. This means Test Iowa will be able to move closer to its goal of processing 3,000 tests a day.

“It takes some time to ramp up now that we have it validated,” she said. “I think you're really going to continue to see us be able to build out what we have the capacity to do with bringing them on board.”

Reynolds said the State Hygienic Lab -- which conducted the validation process -- said results indicated a 95 percent accuracy rate for positive tests and a 99.7 percent accuracy rate for negative tests.

Prior to Test Iowa’s validation, the State Hygienic Lab was using its own equipment for Test Iowa’s tests, which was limiting the number they could process daily. 

Utah-based Co-Diagnosics provided Test Iowa’s equipment as part of the state’s $26 million no-bid contract with several Utah-based tech companies. The contract requires the companies provide the state with 540,000 COVID-19 tests.

Reynolds said the state is setting up a Test Iowa call center where staff can answer questions and concerns in a “timely manner.”

In the three weeks since the state launched the Test Iowa program with Utah-based Nomi Health, 4,300 Iowans have been tested while 4,000 have been notified of their results. More than 400,000 people have taken the online assessment at testiowa.org to determine if they qualify for a test.

Reynolds confirmed that 200 Test Iowa samples collected in southwest Iowa were spoiled and couldn’t be processed.

“This is just that these are some of the things that happens when you're testing on a large scale like we are right now,” she said.

Test Iowa has eight sites across the state in Polk, Black Hawk, Woodbury, Linn, Crawford, Scott, Wapello and Buena Vista counties.

Reynolds said she considered the partnership with Utah-based Nomi Health, one of the companies running Test Iowa, to be a “great partnership.”

"We've gone to really automate [testing], from handwritten to a QR code that allows us to populate the information,” she said. “And we are continuing to enhance the process daily, the data that we're receiving, and that we're able to utilize and make the decisions is and has been incredibly helpful and certainly will be helpful as we really address COVID-19 for the long term.”