Thursday, July 9, 2020

Test Iowa reached a milestone today: 100,000 tests have been conducted, all by the State Hygienic Lab (SHL) at the University of Iowa, since the program began on April 25.

Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a statement to announce the test numbers.

“In the face of a global pandemic, we had to be bold, ambitious, and move quickly to launch a comprehensive initiative to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Iowa and protect the lives and livelihoods of Iowans,” she said. “Test Iowa has not only provided our state with critical testing capacity, but real-time, in-depth data and analysis to inform our response to the pandemic.”

Through Test Iowa, the state is currently testing more than 3,000 people a day, across 20 Test Iowa drive up and clinic sites. Approximately 21% of all COVID-19 tests in Iowa have been through Test Iowa and the program is open to every Iowan who wants to be tested. The statewide effort involves SHL, the Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa National Guard, Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Department of Human Services, Department of Transportation, local public health officials, emergency managers, and health care providers across the state.

SHL Director Mike Pentella said the milestone couldn’t have been met without the many talented and dedicated individuals who have devoted many hours to starting up the Test Iowa laboratory in a very short time.

“The State Hygienic Laboratory’s ability to meet this tremendous challenge was made possible only because of our tireless staff, who were able to hire additional help, secure supplies and reagents, and effectively create a high-throughput testing system in record time,” he said.

He especially thanked SHL’s Test Iowa team leaders, including Clinical Laboratory Supervisor Ryan Jepson, Clinical Laboratory Analyst Megan Nelson, Quality Systems Manager Mark Pendergast, Biological Threat Coordinator Drew Fayram, and Clinical Laboratory Technical Specialist Cynthia Cass.

“They were critical in making this lab a success by working out the many details and issues required to report out quality test results,” he said.