State to stock up on more COVID-19 test kits from Nomi Health

A worker looks at information at a Test Iowa site in Waukee, Iowa. (Photo by Kathie Obradovich/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Gov. Kim Reynolds said Thursday the state of Iowa is buying another 360,000 COVID-19 tests from Utah-based Nomi Health, which has provided testing supplies for the state since late April.

The state has about 140,000 test kits left from its original contract for 540,000 kits from Nomi Health. The supply was expected to run out Dec. 11, Reynolds said.

The governor said each kit costs $9.40, for a total cost to the state for the test kits alone of $3.42 million. The cost will be paid through CARES Act funding. The amendment to the state’s original contract also includes about $80,000 per month for support services at each test site, according to the governor’s office.

Amid reports of Iowans having trouble getting appointments for a COVID-19 test, Reynolds said Test Iowa sites are adding appointment times. Sites were closed Wednesday for Veterans Day but are now reopen and have added 200 appointments per day at each site, she said.

A total of 1,000 appointments per day will be available at the state-operated Test Iowa site in Des Moines; 840 each in Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Waterloo, and 520 in Council Bluffs. The five state-operated drive-through test sites now can test a combined 4,040 Iowans each week day or 20,200 weekly.

When combined with clinic sites and the university and college partnerships, Test Iowa has generated more than 6,000 tests a day, “proving to be a valuable asset in our state’s response to COVID-19,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds said the state needs to continue increasing capacity at test sites and the State Hygienic Lab, which processes the tests. “Even now, there are still states that struggle with testing capacity and we are extremely fortunate to have the strong public-private partnership with Nomi Health and our team at the State Hygienic Lab and it is important that it continues,” Reynolds said.

The state’s original contract with Nomi Health was for $26 million and did not involve a competitive bidding process.

Kathie Obradovich
Editor Kathie Obradovich has been covering Iowa government and politics for more than 30 years, most recently as political columnist and opinion editor for the Des Moines Register. She previously covered the Iowa Statehouse for 10 years for newspapers in Davenport, Waterloo, Sioux City, Mason City and Muscatine. She is a leading voice on Iowa politics and makes regular appearances on state, national and international news programs. She has led national-award-winning coverage of the Iowa Caucuses and the Register’s Iowa Poll.