This week, Test Iowa, the state’s free COVID-19 testing program, will transition from offering COVID-19 testing at drive-through locations throughout the state to providing Iowans access to free, self-administered test kits. Since launching in April of 2020, Test Iowa has processed over 540,000 PCR COVID-19 tests.
Through Test Iowa at-home, a partnership between the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the State Hygienic Lab (SHL), Iowans will be able to receive a free test kit, collect a saliva sample at home, return the sample by UPS and receive results through email.
Beginning Friday, July 16, Iowans may choose to pick up a test kit from a site in their community or have a kit sent to their home at no cost. Each test kit includes step-by-step instructions, including how to activate the test kit, collect the test sample, return sample to SHL and when to expect results. The current Test Iowa website will be updated to facilitate the process for requesting test kits and will feature a test kit site locator tool. There are approximately 125 pick-up sites registered throughout the state.
Page County Public Health Administrator Jessica Erdman said the PCPH office located at 112 E Main in Clarinda is the test kit site for Page County.
“The first day I can dispense them will be July 16,” said Erdman.
The currently operational drive-through sites and testing clinics will remain open through July 16 at 4 p.m. Appointments for Friday, July 16, can be scheduled on testiowa.com through the end of the day on Thursday, July 15.
Homebound individuals have the option to request a kit to be sent to their home and to have UPS pick up their sample. Results will be sent via email about 24 hours from when the sample is received by SHL. These self-collected saliva test kits are authorized by the FDA under an emergency use authorization.
The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. We encourage all Iowans who have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine to reach out to their health care provider. Vaccine providers and events can be found on https://vaccinate.iowa.gov/
Erdman said that the PCPH office continues to hold walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics. The next clinic is scheduled from 4 – 6 p.m., on July 27. She said if the clinic times do not work for someone needing a vaccine, they can call the office and staff will work them in to receive a vaccine. Erdman said the HyVee Stores in Clarinda and Shenandoah and the Walmart in Shenandoah are still offering COVID-19 vaccines as well.
Erdman reported the vaccination rate in Page County is currently slightly under 45% and the 14-day positivity rate as of July 12 was 1.4%.