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TestIowa a sham—$26-million dollar publicity stunt, says Sheriff Thompson

In comments highly critical of the COVID-19, TestIowa initiative, Black Hawk Count Sheriff, Tony Thompson, told KWWL News Friday, “I feel this whole TestIowa thing is a sham; a $26-million publicity stunt for the Governor's personal benefit.”

Thompson made his comments, saying he, and other local officials, are frustrated by what they see as an ongoing lack of communication from the State of Iowa to Black Hawk County throughout the pandemic.

Thompson added, “With all the problems we've experienced, I won't be a party to it any longer.” He said his deputies will no longer provide any assistance at the test site in Black Hawk County.

As the latest example of what he calls a 'lack of communication,' the Sheriff said Black Hawk County only learned Friday morning that the TestIowa site at Crossroads would be staying in Waterloo a little longer, after being told just two days ago that the site was being moved to Marshalltown right away.

Thompson, a Democrat running for re-election in November, says some local citizens are still waiting for their Test Iowa results. He accused Governor Reynolds' staff of not releasing timely results and not working closely with Black Hawk County officials.

He said, '”With the number of inconclusive tests, and the myriad of other issues revolving around and involving this $26-million effort, I am done assisting with it and an distancing myself and my agency from the fiasco.”

Test Iowa http://testiowa.com is a partnership involving the State of Iowa, Nomi Health and a Nomi subsidiary, DOMO.

DOMO is a software company based in Utah, and is involved in the TestUtah initiative in that state.

Governor Reynolds has reaped high praise on TestIowa at many of her recent COVID-19 press briefings.

Iowa awarded the $26-million dollar TestIowa contract without seeking competitive bids from other companies.

Many Iowans have been frustrated by the TestIowa procedure, which begins with an online assessment at testiowa.com.

Test participants are asked several questions, including, if they have been directly exposed to someone with COVID-19, or if they are feeling ill themselves.

The online assessment determines whether the individual qualifies for an actual COVID-19 test.

KWWL News received a recent message from a concerned Cedar Falls wife, whose husband works at a long term care facility.

The wife, whom asked not to be identified, said her husband transported a known COVID-19 patient from the care facility to a local hospital.

Despite that direct exposure to a COVID-19-positive patient, the testiowa.com online assessment told the husband he not qualify for an actual test.

Friday, Governor Reynolds told Iowans during her COVID-19 press briefing, that changes are coming to the TestIowa initiative, which will allow all Iowans to be tested, if they desire.

The Governor said Friday, “The data that we're collecting really helps us identify where and when we need to provide the additional TestIowa sites as well as the strike teams. Early next week, another opening phase that will provide Iowans access to testing.”

As of Friday night, more than 120,500 Iowans had been tested for COVID-19. Iowa has 16,507 positive cases as of 9:30 Friday night, May 22, along with 441 deaths. The past two days have been particularly deadly for Iowans, with 19 and 18 deaths in that time frame,.

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Ron Steele

Evening Anchor

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