DES MOINES, Iowa — The state's top health and emergency management departments are reworking their approach to provide Iowans with easy and convenient access to free COVID-19 testing across the state.
Those agencies include the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD) and the State Hygienic Lab (SHL).
One of those tools can be found on the IDPH's COVID-19 dashboard. The testing locator map can help Iowans find testing near them by entering either a city or zip code.
That map also includes TestIowa test kit pick-up sites and locations where in-person testing is available. The tool also provides Iowans information on the types of tests offered and associated costs.
To help provide more timely results to symptomatic Iowans, seven TestIowa will also provide same-day delivery to the SHL. This change is to help expedite test processing.
So, how does it work? Samples dropped off at any of the sites will be collected and delivered daily to the SHL by a contracted courier service.
Those pick-up and drop-off sites are:
- Black Hawk County: Peoples Community Health Clinic, 905 Franklin Street, Waterloo
- Linn County Public Health: 1020 6th Street Southeast, Cedar Rapids
- Johnson County Public Health: 855 South Dubuque Street, Iowa City
- Polk County Public Health: 1907 Carpenter, Des Moines
- Pottawattamie County Public Health: 600 South 4th Street, Council Bluffs
- Scott County Public Health: 600 W 4th Street, Davenport
- Woodbury County, Siouxland District Health Department: 1014 Nebraska Street, Sioux City
Test results will be sent via email and should be available within 24 hours of the lab receiving an activated test kit. Hours and drop-off times vary by site.
Due to increased testing and the strain on Iowa's health care clinics and emergency rooms, IDPH recommends Iowans consider the following testing options based on their circumstances:
- Iowans with mild symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or those who have been exposed to a COVID positive individual should seek testing in a health care setting or use TestIowa at home.
- Iowans seeking testing for travel or other proactive purposes should purchase a home test kit from a retailer or pharmacy, or schedule an appointment at a local pharmacy.
- Individuals experiencing severe symptoms or those who are at high risk of serious illness should seek medical care.
Remember— the best way to reduce the risk of serious illness from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. IDPH reports 75-80% of Iowans recently hospitalized from the virus and 80-90% of those admitted to an intensive care unit were unvaccinated.
The IDPH also urges Iowans to get their flu shot to help reduce the strain on the state's health care systems.
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