DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Public Health will add the results of nearly 27,000 antigen tests to the state’s coronavirus website this weekend.
The tests were conducted at long-term care facilities throughout September. Of the nearly 27,000 antigen test results included in the update, about 300 are positive for the virus, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. That is a positivity rate of 1.1%.
The new batch of antigen test results will increase the individual test total and the antigen test total on the state’s coronavirus website.
“While facilities notified public health officials as soon as positive cases were identified, public reporting of the test results has taken additional time,” the Iowa Department of Public Health said in a news release. “Unlike labs, long-term care facilities are not able to directly submit test results to the electronic reporting system. IDPH has now created a new reporting tool for long-term care facilities to use to streamline the process for reporting antigen test results. The tool will enable facilities to report results to IDPH in a more convenient and timely manner going forward.”
On Aug. 26, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued an interim final rule requiring routine testing of staff, consultants, contractors, volunteers and others at long-term care facilities. The federal government provided initial antigen testing supplies to long-term care facilities nationwide. Facilities are now responsible for obtaining additional supplies to meet the testing requirements.
Antigen testing is done on-site and results take just minutes to process.
There are currently 50 outbreaks at long-term care facilities in Iowa. In total, 680 Iowans living in long-term care facilities have died from COVID-19. That is more than half of the state’s total death count from COVID-19 of 1,308.