Supply and demand for COVID-19 tests increase as Iowa sees more positive cases

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 6:13 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Local health officials are seeing an increased demand for covid-19 tests. Especially rapid COVID-19 tests.

Heather Meador with Linn County Public Health told me more people need tests, whether they’re take-home or provided by a medical professional. She says that’s because the virus is spreading with cases in Iowa up 17% last week according to the state health department.

The vaccine isn’t available for children 11 and under, and with masks being optional in school, transmission rate is also increasing.

“School started and if you look at our website, you’re going to see that here in Linn County, and it’s the same thing across the state, our case numbers are going up. We have a lot more people that are being diagnosed. That means a lot more people are in contact with individuals that have tested positive for COVID-19.,” said Meador.

Cases in Iowa were up 17-percent last week and Iowans under 18 made up 22-percent of all cases.

Meador also told me some people are stocking up on tests to save for when they might need them, and not necessarily when they believe they could test positive.

“Pharmacies, provider offices, Test Iowa, there are different avenues to get them,” said Meador. “They’re able to order through their suppliers and their vendors to access kits and have those shipped in.”

She urges people not to hoard tests and to only take one when people have a strong reason to believe they or someone in their household could be positive.

“We start hoarding items and nobody is able to use them. So get what you need, don’t stock up with a whole bunch of kits that are just sitting there in your home and nobody is able to utilize them,” said Meador.

Linn County Public Health has free COVID-19 saliva tests for people to take. Meador says they order 100 daily from the state’s provider, Test Iowa, but supply is going fast because of the high demand.

“Demand is going up so supply is going down. So you may just have to be patient as those test kits are coming through.,” she said.

The saliva tests are available first come first served, but again, it can take days to get a result. That’s why Meador says people need to be patient when getting tested and receiving results.

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