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Where to Get a COVID-19 Test as Cases Surge in Iowa

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DES MOINES, Iowa — As coronavirus cases rise in Iowa, the need for testing is as well. Some people wanting to get a COVID-19 test have had no trouble at all.

DES MOINES, Iowa — As coronavirus cases rise in Iowa, the need for testing is as well. Some people wanting to get a COVID-19 test have had no trouble at all.

“I got on the Test Iowa website on Sunday night and we got in on Tuesday at 2:00,” Ankeny resident Brenda Martin said.

“I just talked to my ex-wife and she went to McFarland Clinic and got tested just like that,” Polk City resident Eric Barkema said.

But others said it’s a bit harder to get a test.

“Pretty much everywhere I looked, there is a slight delay at that point of at least a couple of days,” Des Moines resident Matt Denner said.

This comes as cases of COVID-19 are skyrocketing in Iowa.

“I think the difference between getting tested even now in last month is probably getting worse and it’s just going to keep going that way, unless we put a lot more resources into testing, into better policy and education and masks,” Denner said.

The government-run COVID-19 testing sites, Test Iowa, acknowledge this:

“Increased community spread has led to an increase in demand for testing, which we are working to meet. With the recent transition to larger, enclosed sites, Test Iowa now has the ability to offer more appointments and can flex to a higher volume of testing as needed.

Iowans have a number of options for testing through hospitals, clinics, community health centers, and through a number of retail pharmacy locations.”

But Test Iowa isn’t the only place people can get tested.

“My neighbor who tested positive went to Iowa Clinic and he got in and out I think the next day,” Barkema said.

“I was able to go to the Mercy Clinic in the East Village. It was relatively easy to get a test there. You just call from the parking lot,” Denner said.

Check around and not just at medical clinics. Hy-Vee and Walgreens are offering COVID-19 tests by appointment. However, if you want to find out results within the hour, rapid testing through Health Gauge is available. Right now it will cost you $80.

Another tip is to check the websites often. You never know when a spot might open up. Check early in the day.

“I did go early on a Saturday morning. That may have made a difference,” Denner said.

Denner said getting a test is responsible, but because he experienced a false negative, sometimes it is not always reliable.

“A lot of tests that people are probably taking now to go on trips, go see families, things like that. A lot of them are probably getting false negatives, going home or seeing other people, having parties in some cases, and then making those people sick and not knowing it until later,” Denner said.

The CDC recommends anyone who was in close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 to self-quarantine for 14 days, regardless of if they tested negative.