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A year after announcement, TestIowa processing far fewer COVID-19 tests

Iowa Department of Public Health officials confirmed to Local 5 TestIowa sites will remain open for the foreseeable future.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Half of all Iowa adults are now vaccinated for COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

As more get the shot, fewer people are going to state-run facilities to get tested for the virus, Iowa Department of Public Health data says.

In April 2020, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced the creation of a statewide coronavirus testing program: TestIowa

Out-of-state companies were in charge of managing a website for Iowans to sign up for an appointment, as well as provide COVID-19 tests to the sites.

At first, only first responders, packing plant workers and health care workers were allowed to get a free test through TestIowa. A few weeks later, any Iowan could fill out an online assessment and schedule an appointment.

In May 2020, 20,518 tests were processed through TestIowa. That number of monthly tests increased throughout the summer. 

In November, more than 95,000 tests were provided to Iowans. 

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JULY 2020: Iowans say there's a lack of TestIowa appointment availability

November 2020 was also one of Iowa's deadliest months during the pandemic.

Hospitalizations sharply rose, forcing some hospitals to create special accommodations for more COVID-19 patients.

In December 2020, the number of tests administered through TestIowa dropped by about a third, continuing to decrease as vaccinations become available.

In April 2021, 15,544 tests were given by the state. So far in May 2021, 2,260 tests have been administered through TestIowa.

In the beginning, long lines and delayed results caused frustration among some using the free testing service.

Members of the Iowa National Guard helped staff the testing sites. Since the number of tests administered has gone down in the past few months, staffing at the sites has been adjusted, according to IDPH. 

IDPH officials told Local 5 the sites will remain open for the foreseeable future. 

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