DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) -- Iowa Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer is one of several Democratic lawmakers raising concerns over Governor Kim Reynolds' decision to limit COVID-19 testing at a Test Iowa Clinic in Dubuque.
Finkenauer sent a letter to Governor Reynolds on Tuesday seeking more information on the decision. Finkenauer represents Iowa’s First Congressional District which includes all of Dubuque County and the surrounding counties.
"Now is not the time to be ramping testing down anywhere in our state – in fact, testing is needed now more than ever to identify and contain the spread of the virus," Finkenauer writes. "There is simply no room for error as we work to keep our constituents safe from COVID-19. I am concerned that decreasing testing in places like Dubuque County could prevent progress toward controlling the virus and getting our economy back on track."
The City of Dubuque announced on Monday that the Governor's office had directed the clinic to limit their testing to 100 tests per day and reduce their operating hours to one hour a day, four days a week.
In the letter, Finkenauer asks Governor Reynolds to provide the following information and answer the following questions:
- Any issues or factors that led or contributed to the decision to limit Test Iowa operations in Dubuque, including any communications or issues with the private companies that the State has contracted with to operate Test Iowa?
- What impact will decreasing Test Iowa operations have on the total number of tests completed in Dubuque County each day?
- What other options are being pursued to bring testing to the Dubuque area while Test Iowa capacity remains limited?
- What additional funding is needed to maintain Test Iowa operations in Dubuque?
- How much of federal funding for testing has been spent on Test Iowa and how much funding remains available to the state?
- What impact testing backlogs or other operational problems have had on testing capacity and wait times in Iowa?
State Rep. Lindsay James, a Democrat from Dubuque, also criticized the Republican governor's move to limit testing.
"Ordering my county to reduce covid testing is effectively sacrificing my neighbors for political optics," James wrote on Twitter.
State Auditor Rob Sand, a Democrat who has been critical of the Test Iowa program, also reacting to the move on Twitter.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health website, more than 30,000 Test Iowa assessments have been completed in Dubuque County.
According to the state's COVID-19 dashboard, cases in Dubuque County have spiked over the last month and the county is among the top 10 statewide for number of positive cases.