It Could Be Worse. In Iowa Nice Praise of Test Iowa

There have been a lot of complaints about Test Iowa and Gov. Kim Reynolds’ response to COVID-19. Those complaints do not feel very Iowa nice. It could be worse.

So I wanted to offer some overdue praise.

Since Test Iowa’s launch, I had been dutifully submitting my personal information to the state via its opaque website. It’s easy for me, since I have a cell phone, email address, ready access to the internet and my health.

I was tested on Aug. 10 in Cedar Rapids, and I can honestly say that my Test Iowa test was the best thing to happen to me that day.

Each week, I received a personalized link and encouragement to “crush the curve.” I would follow that link, reenter my name, email address (twice for confirmation), cell phone number (twice for confirmation), date of birth, street address, city, state, ZIP code, gender, height (in inches), weight, underlying conditions, demographics of my household, and job. I was glad they were being so careful to make sure it was me.

In May, testing became available to anyone could get an appointment regardless of symptoms who after two months and a $28 million no-bid contract to help us crush the curve. And we did, as Iowans undertook serious group study to get ahead and help set the grading curve here in the Midwest.

As the school year crept up on us, even though we’d been super careful and hadn’t set foot inside a grocery store, restaurant or movie theater since before spring break, my family wanted to get tested. Scheduling our tests was four simple steps. Our process was:

  1. Plan some vacation time, since we couldn’t guarantee testing on a specific day and no testing is done on weekends or evenings.
  2. Check each morning in the days leading up to our time off to see if we could schedule a test.
  3. Schedule a test. Then log in as my wife and schedule another test. Then log in as my daughter and schedule a third test.
  4. Print our QR codes on actual paper to be ready to go for our test.

While we live in the fourth most populated county in the state, and minutes from the state’s hygienic laboratory, we had got to travel to Linn County for testing. Since we’re not transportation dependent and own the required hardtop vehicle (no walk ups!), we had no problems getting to the test site, as it had good signage from the interstate.

The test took just minutes, and the care worker who shoved an incredibly long swab up my nose twice for 10 seconds each could not have been kinder and more professional.

I received my results — negative — about 24 hours later (once I could find a place with enough LTE data to load the website).