Reynolds: If Test Iowa won’t give you an appointment, keep trying

Iowans who have been unable to get an appointment at a drive-through COVID-19 testing site like this one are encouraged to keep trying to website or call their own doctor. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

If Test Iowa won’t give you an appointment for a COVID-19 test, keep trying the website ꟷ or just call your doctor.

That was the message Friday from Gov. Kim Reynolds. She announced earlier this week that any Iowan can now be tested for COVID-19 without having to meet criteria such as symptoms of the illness, exposure or an essential job.

She emphasized the importance of testing as many Iowans as possible but also noted that not all communities will have a Test Iowa site available.

“For Iowans returning to work, and restaurants and retail stores or other establishments that serve the public, this is a resource that you can use at any time to ensure your health and well-being. For health care workers, first responders and law enforcement who are at high risk of exposure at work, having the ability to be tested frequently is important,” she said.

She said more than 1,600 Iowans had made appointments for tests as of Friday morning.

However, she said the Test Iowa site in Sioux City was closing in part because one in 11 residents of Woodbury County had already been tested on a per-capita basis. She said a majority of tests there were already being handled by a local health care provider, so residents will still have access to testing.

“This just gives us an opportunity to take that Test Iowa site and actually move it up to Sioux Center, which is still relatively close in the area, so they’ll have access to significant testing,” she said. “We just, as we’ve looked at the numbers, and we look at numbers testing, and you start seeing a decline, and that gives us an opportunity to reallocate and relocate some of our Test Iowa sites.”

Asked about reports from Iowans who have been unable to get a testing appointment through Test Iowa, Reynolds said the program has managed a significant expansion in the past three weeks.

“And so as we ramp up and we continue to enhance the processes, we’re going to get better at that and we’re going to be able to meet the expectation of Iowans,” she said. In the meantime, however, Test Iowa is “just one tool” and not the only place to get a test, she said.

Reynolds advised people who aren’t given an appointment through Test Iowa to keep taking the online assessment. “Anybody can test, there’s no requirements anymore, so if it didn’t say that you qualify, go on and take it again. And if we continue to see issues with that let us know and we’ll look into it,” she said.

Although the state coronavirus website and local officials reported that a Waterloo site was also closing this week, that site at Crossroads Mall is now scheduled to remain open until May 29. The state is also adding testing sites in Marshalltown and Council Bluffs.