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Iowa to get 900K rapid tests from feds, prioritizing rural areas

Iowa will prioritize rural areas and school districts to get the antigen tests.

President Donald Trump announced Monday the federal government is sending states 150 million rapid COVID-19 tests.

Gov. Kim Reynolds said Iowa is getting around 45,000 of the rapid antigen tests every week until December, adding up to about 900,000 tests. 

"The FDA authorized test is simple to use," Reynolds said. "It's cost-effective and it doesn't require any equipment to process results other than the card that comes as part of the kit." 

Reynolds said the rapid antigen tests are primarily for rural areas.

Schools are also a top priority, but they won't be shipped directly to districts. 

"We're going to be working with our local health care providers who can not only provide the test but also check the general health of children," Reynolds said. 

According to Reynolds, they're doing that because many families have fallen behind with routine visits for their kids during the pandemic. 

Rural districts say testing has been an issue from the start.

RELATED: US to ship millions of tests in push to reopen K-12 schools

"It's very common at this point that we have to wait anywhere from four to seven days for results on tests. And then we have to make decisions after that," Oelwein community school district superintendent Josh Ehn said. 

Ehn said it'd be a huge help to get results quicker. 

"We received negative backlash when we were making preemptive decisions based on symptoms alone and not with a test result -- trying to keep kids safe," Ehn said. "Our pushback was, 'we need to get test results faster.'" 

Antigen tests are one of the two types of diagnostic tests used in Iowa. 

PCR tests are also used. 

PCR tests are more reliable, but results from antigen tests come back much quicker, making them useful in congregate settings and when people need to be tested multiple times. 

As of 3 p.m., more than 31,000 antigen tests have been reported, making up 4% of all diagnostic tests performed in Iowa. 

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