Free testing: for Midwestern Schools, shelters, etc
Iowa Governor's office knew about it - so did IDPH (see note at the end!)
Schools, shelters, YMCAs, anything that is considered a congregate setting can easily request completely free testing - including samples and if needed a laptop to scan the barcodes for testing supplies - through this federally funded program.
Testing is confidential and abides by all HIPPA standards. The tests ARE NOT the “HOLY COW IN THE BACK OF MY EPIGLOTTIS!” tests but the ‘lower nose’ so can be performed by teacher, school, nurse, or other facility manager who goes through the required training course.
Tests can be used on children 5 and older. If a child - for whatever reason - cannot be given a nasal swab Midwest Coordination Center will arrange on a case by case basis saliva testing for kids with special needs.
No shipping costs - they provide FED EX number or courier service if within range of larger city.
They currently work with two national laboratory providers and testing will be completed within 24 hours upon sample arriving at lab facility.
If there are positive tests in the test pool retesting will take place and individuals will be notified confidentially of COVID status.
CDC is provided all testing data
If you are a school district in Iowa or run a congregate facility (like a DV shelter, group home, halfway facility, etc) you can contact Tested and Protected through the Midwest Coordination Center and enroll in a free surveillance testing program (and more!)
Governor, IDPH knew this program was a free option even as Test Iowa ran low:
This from Senator Sarah Trone-Garriott who has been chasing testing for her districts. She was pretty stunned to find out the state knew about the federal Midwest Coordination Center testing option but didn’t tell, well…anyone:
I was forwarded information about this program from a colleague in non-profit work. I was surprised to find out that it was available to schools—I hadn’t heard of it through IDPH or IDE, even though I specifically have been asking for testing resources for schools. I forwarded the information about this program to administrators and school boards in my district and shared about it publicly. One school board member indicated that they were not aware of it, but I’m not sure about the others.
When I asked program coordinators how it was promoted, they indicated that in June this information was shared with Traci Vitek in the Governor’s office and Dr. Pedati of IDPH.
And yes, I reached out to Pat Garrett and Sarah Ekstrand (IDPH) to ask why on earth Iowans weren’t told of this free method of testing especially after Test Iowa told me last week (or was that two weeks ago?) that they were running out of testing.