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Health

Health officials ask Iowans to report at-home COVID-19 test results to health department

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Cedrik Wesche
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Unsplash
Health officials are asking Iowans who test positive for COVID-19 using an at-home rapid test to report results to their local health department.

Public health officials are asking Iowans who test positive for COVID-19 using an at-home rapid test to report the results to their local health department.

The demand for at-home testing has increased as the highly transmittable omicron variant drives a spike in new infections.

But local health officials say unlike the tests that are run through the State Hygienic Lab or hospitals and clinics, at-home test results aren't reported to public health officials.

Nola Aigner-Davis, the public information officer for the the Polk County Public Health Department, said reporting positive test results helps officials track the spread of the virus.

"It's great that everyone is doing self at home tests. But if we don't have that data, it doesn't accurately reflect what what's actually in the community," she said.

Aigner-Davis said the department also looks at COVID-19 hospitalizations, deaths and infection rates in local schools to get a picture of current viral spread.

She said Iowans should continue to take precautions against the virus such as wearing masks and getting vaccinated, if they haven't already, as the number of new infections is expected to increase in coming weeks.