DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Tuesday the state has entered a public-private partnership to expand coronavirus testing in Iowa.
Iowa will get an extra 540,000 COVID-19 tests to be used over the next 180 days.
The state partnered with Nomi Health and Silicon Slopes to assist with the rollout.
"Iowa's first testing location will open Saturday at the Iowa Events Center North parking lot in downtown Des Moines," Reynolds said. "More testing sites are planned for other areas of the state and could open as soon as next week."
Right now, testing will be limited to first responders and other frontline workers.
"We're going to focus initially on our essential workforce, our healthcare workers, our first responders, our food supply chain and some of our manufacturers," Reynolds said.
That's what Utah did at first also.
Reports from a Utah newspaper said the tech companies running their state's testing assessment website — which are the same companies running Iowa's site — can start testing people with no symptoms on days where demand is low.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported Silicon Slopes board member Dave Elkington said on days when demand is lower than testing capacity in the state of Utah, the state makes the decision to increase or decrease the criteria for testing. That allows the state's testing assessment website to refer some asymptomatic people for testing.
"Eventually, we want asymptomatic people able to come in and be test tested," Elkington said during an Iowa briefing Tuesday. "The objective here is to really get everybody back to work back to the normal life."
There's no word on when Iowa will be able to expand its testing program. That depends on available resources.
"Just like all along, the way we've looked at the resources available and how to make best use of what we have, that's what we're going to continue to do," said Dr. Caitlin Pedati, medical director and epidemiologist for the state of Iowa.
Note, these new tests will be in addition to the testing already happening in the state.
Are you eligible for one of these new tests?
Reynolds is asking every Iowan to go to TestIowa.com to take a symptom assessment.
If you meet the criteria for testing, you'll be instructed on how to proceed.
Within 3 hours of launching the program, 25,000 Iowans had already taken the assessment.
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