Only 4,000 have received results under Iowa testing program

Medical workers pose for a photo at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in Waterloo, Iowa. 

IOWA CITY (AP) — Only 4,000 people have gotten results through Iowa’s month-old $26 million coronavirus testing contract, but that will increase rapidly now that the equipment has been validated, Gov. Kim Reynolds said Thursday.

Reynolds said the State Hygienic Lab has determined that the machines purchased for the TestIowa program are 95% accurate in detecting the virus in samples and 99.7% accurate in determining its absence.

The validation will allow TestIowa to soon process 3,000 tests per day as originally envisioned, Reynolds said. She said it also would allow tests to be processed faster and the state to broaden the criteria of who can qualify for a test.

The announcement came as Iowa reported 12 more deaths from the virus and an uptick in hospitalizations. The state reported that 180 of the 318 deaths to date have been residents of long-term care facilities, where three dozen outbreaks have been confirmed.

Iowa signed a no-bid contract with Nomi Health, a Utah startup, one month ago to purchase 540,000 testing kits and supplies and 10 machines to process samples.

On April 21, Reynolds announced the TestIowa program would be able to test 3,000 people per day at mobile sites around the state. her push to reopen the economy since then.

But the testing has gotten off to a rocky start.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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