Gov. Reynolds apologizes for delay in virus test processing

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announces updates on COVID-19 at a news conference on Tuesday, March 31,...
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announces updates on COVID-19 at a news conference on Tuesday, March 31, 2020, at the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston, Pa. (Olivia Sun/The Des Moines Register via AP, Pool)(KCRG)
Published: May. 5, 2020 at 6:20 AM CDT
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Governor Kim Reynolds is apologizing for a backlog of a thousand COVID-19 tests in the TestIowa program that she says is responsible for delays in test results.

The state says a backlog of processing the tests followed opening test sites in Des Moines and Waterloo.

Last Friday, the governor said the backlog would clear over the weekend, but yesterday, she backtracked and apologized for the continued delay.

The governor says the TestIowa validation process is ongoing to ensure the results are accurate.

"I know waiting for Test Results is difficult and I'm sorry for any concern that this may have caused you. I wanted to again reassure Iowans this is a short term issue," Gov. Reynolds said during a press conference on Monday.

The governor says anyone who has not received results from their COVID-19 test should continue to stay home.

She also said during her Monday press conference she expected the state lab to get caught up on the backlog by the end of the day.

But Iowans who were tested for COVID-19 say they are frustrated with the delay in their results.

Maiga Van Haleen is a health care worker and the wife of a Des Moines firefighter. The Pleasantville woman says she qualified for the very first round of TestIowa at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Van Haleen says everything went smoothly, and she was promised results within 72 hours. It's now been nine days, and she is worried the backlog could paint a false picture of how COVID-19 is affected Iowa.

"You look at the numbers for Marion County, and we look like we're sitting good, but there's no way those numbers are reflective of the true situation," Van Haleen said. "Thing that most of us want is honesty and transparency."

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, more than 57-thousand Iowans total have been tested for the virus. Of those tests, more than 47-thousand of them came back negative. The department says one in 55 Iowans have been tested.