Linn County health official questions Test Iowa effectiveness

Published: May. 22, 2020 at 9:02 AM CDT
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A Linn County Public Health Official this week expressed "concerns" to Governor Kim Reynolds' staff about a lack of data shared with county officials from a local Test Iowa site.

Tricia Kitzmann, the Community Health Manager with Linn County Public Health, sent an email Tuesday morning to Governor's staff. It expresses frustration over delayed and inconclusive test results as well as frustration over a lack of information from the Governor's Office.

"This should be a team effort (Federal, State and County) as we try to maximize testing services for our residents," Kitzman wrote. "We feel that we are at a disadvantage as the data is not being shared at the county level to allow for a complete testing picture."

As of Monday night, Kitzmann said Linn County Public Health had only received 20 test results from the Test Iowa site in Cedar Rapids and 16 of those results were inconclusive. While the state runs the Test Iowa sites, county health departments are tasked with investigating positive cases and conducting contact tracing to contain those cases.

While Governor Reynolds has touted Test Iowa's ability to expand the state's testing capability, Linn County said only 823 tests had been performed at the Cedar Rapids Test Iowa site since it opened May 7th.

"This number seem very low compared to what the Governor continues to say the capacity our state has for testing in Iowa," Kitzmann wrote.

Kitzmann added that Monday was the first day that more than 200 tests were performed at the site. Kitzmann said that is causing "concerns that individuals completing the assessment are not being allowed to get a test." Kitzmann also noted the county was not told how many people qualified to get tested nor how many negative tests came from the site.

"All of this information is utilized as we continue to do planning for our local response working with local providers for additional testing options, for disease follow-up and contact tracing," Kitzmann wrote.

The letter ends with "We await your response to determine how these concerns can be addressed to make data-driven decisions within Linn County."

As of Friday morning, Kitzmann said she has not received a response.

On Thursday, Governor Kim Reynolds announced that Test Iowa criteria was expanding so "anyone who thinks that they should be tested can be."