State doesn’t keep track of positive rates in Test Iowa tests; took more than 46 days to meet testing goal

State officials do not keep separate positive, negative, or inconclusive records for TestIowa results, lumping them in with other tests from other labs.
Published: Aug. 26, 2020 at 9:06 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa can’t track the number of positive, negative or inconclusive tests performed by Test Iowa, according to data received through a public records request.

The data, which I9 threaten lawsuits to receive, is the first time data from Test Iowa was ever released and also shows it took 46 days to meet the state’s goal of testing 3,000 people in a single day.

I9 requested the amount of positive, negative and inconclusive tests performed by the $26 million no-bid contract testing program, which was touted as a solution to testing shortages for Covid-19. But, was told the state has no way of knowing if a specific test from any manufacture is giving a disproportionate number of positives, negatives or inconclusive test results.

Nomi Health, who is a Utah based company running Test Iowa, is also performing a similar service in Utah and Nebraska.

The Salt Lake Tribune uncovered Nomi Health’s tests in Utah were getting positive results at a dramatically lower rate than tests done elsewhere in the state.

Dana Jones, who is the nurse practitioner and alerted multiple media outlets about a major computer flaw in its coronavirus data that backdated thousands of positive and negative test results, was shocked when I9 told her about our findings.

“I don’t even know what to say about that,” she said. “I already used horrified and flabbergasted. Ethan, what word should I use now?”

Pat Garrett, who is a spokesperson for the governor’s office, said the state trusts the results from a Test Iowa test because the Iowa Hygienic Lab validated the equipment the samples run through.

He said the number of tests performed from Test Iowa, which started on April 25 started small as the state waited on the validation. Governor Kim Reynolds announced the validation on May 13th.

He said Iowa can’t track the number of positive, negative or inconclusive tests from any specific one test, but receives the whole data.

“To us, it’s just a test,” he said. “We don’t distinguish a Test Iowa test versus a non-test Iowa test.”

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