DES MOINES, Iowa — Luke Elzinga of Des Moines wasn’t feeling too well this past weekend. A sore throat and a fever had him cancel plans to gather in person with friends. But as he started to feel better he thought a COVID test would be wise. He looked at some pharmacies for a COVID test, but they were all booked up. His friends had a mail-in Test Iowa kit. He picked it up at their doorstep.
“I took the saliva test I activated my test online followed all the instructions about labeling and putting it in a bag,” said Elzinga. “Put the UPS return label on and then I was looking for a UPS drop off location.
That turned out to be a challenge of sorts. UPS drop-off places often were inside stores. So he had to find a dropbox. He found one and deposited the test kit. When he checked the online tracking, he wasn’t able to note where the box was and was uncertain if it ever made it to the lab.
“I had kind of lost my patience at that point and said you know what, I’m gonna go out and look for a rapid test again at some pharmacies,” said Elzinga. “I visited five different locations and they were all completely out of the antigen rapid tests. I did see a few of those PCR tests again but like I said they’re $130.”
His frustration was trying to find a same-day test.
“When I visited a Walgreens they had some testing available and so I checked it out first they had ten different locations in the metro but none of them had testing available today and I was really looking for something today,” said Luke “I also saw some people share on Twitter that there was a place out in West Des Moines, GS labs that was doing rapid testing.”
That’s where he went. A couple of hours after, he had the results, he tested negative for COVID.
“First of all it comes down to are you sick, or are you are not sick, do you have symptoms or do you not have symptoms,” said Nola Aigner Davis of the Polk County Health Department. “If you are sick and you have symptoms we want you to call your healthcare provider we want you to call urgent care and let them know you have symptoms and you need to be seen this is a great location for you to get tested.”
Davis added that some people need testing for other reasons.
“We know there are a lot of individuals who are traveling or going to concerts and they say you would need a negative Covid test before you go anywhere, urgent care is not the place to do this.”
The best bet Davis said is to search local pharmacies, they are most likely to be the quickest place to get tested.