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UnityPoint Health seeing ‘extremely high volume’ of requests for COVID-19 tests

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 12:11 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - UnityPoint Health on Wednesday said it is experiencing an extremely high volume of sick patients and requests for COVID-19 testing.

UnityPoint is asking that people consider looking to local pharmacies and public health departments if they are not sick, and haven’t been exposed to COVID-19, but need to be tested for another reason.

This comes as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in Iowa, and President Biden announced a mandate that all businesses with more than 100 employees require them to either get vaccinated or be tested weekly.

Earlier this month, local health officials said they were seeing an increased demand for COVID-19 tests, especially rapid tests.

Even before the mandate to get vaccinated or get tested weekly, Heather Meador with Linn County Public Health told KCRG-TV9 that some people have been stocking up on tests for when they might need them, and not necessarily when they believe they could be positive. At the time, Meador urged Iowans not to hoard tests and to only take one when they have strong reason to believe they may be positive. Soon, it may be a weekly requirement for employment for some.

UnityPoint and other Iowa health officials continue to urge Iowans who can get vaccinated to do so. Additionally, health leaders said Iowans with symptoms of COVID-19 should go to their healthcare provider as soon as possible, especially if they are unvaccinated or at high-risk.

UnityPoint - St. Luke’s and Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids are limiting elective surgeries to ensure capacity. However, UnityPoint said its other locations are operating as normal.

Anyone looking for COVID-19 tests can also turn to a new Test Hunter website, designed by an Ankeny man, for help finding them.

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