JOHNSTON, Iowa — On Thursday Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that Test Iowa screenings for COVID-19 will soon be expanded for “anyone who thinks that they should be tested.”
“Later today, we’ll be opening the criteria so that anyone who thinks they should be tested can be,” Reynolds said during her daily news conference. “This is especially important as more Iowans return to work.”
She said Iowans will still need to take the assessment via TestIowa.com, but now Iowans will automatically qualify and give either a schedule for when tests are available or a location they can visit. Previously, there were strict qualifications for Iowans to get a test.
Testing had been limited to people with coronavirus symptoms or who had been around someone with a confirmed case, or those in the “essential” workforce.
Reynolds’ announcement was paired with new numbers she touted at the beginning of her briefing. On Wednesday, the state conducted 4,636 total tests from the state hygienic lab and Test Iowa, a record that’s still shy of 5,000 per day goal.
When the Test Iowa program began in April, Reynolds said it would expand the state’s testing capacity by 3,000 tests per day and it has yet to reach that target. In her Thursday briefing, Reynolds said Test Iowa currently has enough kits to test 200,000 people. The governor recommended that Iowans who previously did not qualify a COVID-19 test through Test Iowa retake the assessment online now that anyone can get tested. However, she did not specify how appointments will be prioritized and scheduled.
There are currently eight “Test Iowa” locations and the governor hinted those would be expanded as well.
“We’ll be announcing next week, early next week another phase that will be opening up that will provide Iowans access to testing,” she said.
The governor has continued to emphasize the importance of testing as more and more parts of the state reopen. On Wednesday, Reynolds announced she was lifting more restrictions. The latest changes will allow movie theaters, zoos, aquariums, wedding reception venues and museums to reopen on Friday, with social distancing guidelines and have “appropriate public health measures in place” remaining in place. Additionally, swimming pools can reopen Friday for lap swimming and swimming lessons. She also announced bars and other establishments that serve alcohol may reopen on May 28, as long as they maintain capacity at 50% and follow public health measures.
“Iowa is continuing to move forward,” Reynolds said. “Gradually, we are beginning to step back into life as normal. Things aren’t exactly the same as they were, but it feels familiar, and that’s a welcome change.”