JOHNSTON — Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Thursday that the State Hygienic Lab has successfully validated equipment for the Test Iowa initiative and she hopes to “ramp up” testing to better identify, track and mitigate cases of the novel coronavirus in Iowa.
During her daily news briefing, Reynolds acknowledged there have been problems associated with the state’s testing program, which she announced April 21, but she expressed confidence leaders have turned the corner and more and better results now will be possible at a time she has allowed more businesses to reopen with limits.
“We’re moving in the right direction,” the governor told reporters, noting she expects the Test Iowa sites and State Hygienic Lab will be able to process up to 5,000 tests per day now that the validation process has been completed.
At the same time, state Department of Public Health officials announced that the number of long-term care facilities with COVID-19 outbreaks involving staff and residents is now up to 35 statewide. Iowa’s overall death toll has risen to 318 with the report of 12 new fatalities tied to the respiratory disease in the past 24 hours.
The first new case in Cerro Gordo County in a month was logged on Thursday, and Upper Iowa Beef in Howard County reported 12 cases at its facility on Wednesday, according to the IDPH.
Currently, 405 Iowans are hospitalized with coronavirus-related symptoms or illnesses and 386 Iowans have tested positive in the past day bringing that statewide total to 13,675.
Watch Gov. Kim Reynolds give updates on COVID-19 during today's press conference.