Rocky Reents, the public health coordinator for Greenbelt Home Care/Hardin County Public Health, told the county supervisors Wednesday morning that her office has been fielding questions from the public about why COVID-19 tests are not more widely available.
At Wednesday's Hardin County Board of Supervisors meeting, Reents said the questions have mostly come from residents who want to be tested because they're working or living with someone who has tested positive for the virus.
Reents said the public can review testing criteria on the State Hygienic Lab's website. To be tested a person must:
- Be a hospitalized patient of any age with fever or respiratory systems
- Be an adult over age 60 with fever or respiratory system and chronic medical conditions
- Be a person of any age with fever or respiratory illness who lives in a congregate setting such as a long term care facility, a dorm or residential facility, correctional facility, etc.
- Be a health care worker or essential service personnel, first responder, critical infrastructure worker with fever or respiratory illness.
"A lot of the cases we've been getting, we've noticed the people are actually asymptomatic, but because they are working or living in those types of settings . . . that's why they are getting tested," Reents said.
Greenbelt Home Care/Hardin County Public Health announced Wednesday that an eighth Hardin County resident had tested positive for COVID-19.
On Monday, Gov. Kim Reynolds lifted some state restrictions in 77 of Iowa's 99 counties, while keeping others in place to mitigate the spread of the virus. Beginning Friday, restaurants, fitness centers, libraries and retail businesses will be allowed to open at 50 percent capacity.
Additionally, restrictions will be lifted for church and other religious gatherings as long as the gatherings stick to social distance guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The new restrictions for the 77 counties are to run through May 15.
Eldora resident Julie Duhn commented during Wednesday's supervisors meeting that she believes the number of positive cases is inaccurate due to lack of testing.
"People need to know what towns they (positive cases) live in. Just because you say I would live in Eldora, is not a HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) violation. I believe the numbers are inaccurate and under tested. Opening up restaurants and places while numbers are rising is ludicrous," Duhn said. "If you think someone who lives with a person who's tested positive, if you think they are not positive, that is not good."
According to data from the Iowa Department of Public Health, 180 Hardin County residents have received the COVID-19 test.
Supervisor Renee McClellan said those concerns are all the more reason for the public to continue practicing social distancing and/or wearing a mask when going out in public.