Spirit Lake's Test Iowa site on the move

Friday, July 3, 2020
Health professionals with the Spirit Lake Test Iowa site moved their equipment from the Dickinson County Expo Building to the Lakes Area Ice Arena. Testing at the new site began Monday, and is expected to be available there until at least July 17.
Photo by Seth Boyes

Spirit Lake's drive-thru Test Iowa site is on the move, Lakes Regional Healthcare officials announced on Friday.

Starting Monday, the clinic will move from the Dickinson County Fairgrounds to its new location at the Lakes Ice Arena (3800 Sunner Avenue) in Spirit Lake. The Lakes Area Hockey Association rink will open for testing at 9 a.m. Monday, July 6. Regular hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. return starting Tuesday, July 7 and the clinic will be available on weekdays through at least July 17. The Lakes Ice Arena is just north of the Bedell Family YMCA in Spirit Lake.

Lakes Regional Healthcare also urged residents and visitors to practice safe social distancing and wear face masks during and after Okoboji's busiest weekend of the summer.

"We want to support our local businesses, enjoy the summer activities and ensure people are as safe from contracting COVID-19 as possible," Lakes Regional Healthcare President and CEO Jason Harrington said in an announcement on Friday. "Wearing face masks can really help mitigate the spread when you're closer than six feet away from others, and something we encourage everyone to do."

Recap of the process

Starting Monday, the Test Iowa site in Spirit Lake will be conducted at the Lakes Ice Arena, which is located north of the Bedell Family YMCA along Sunner Avenue. Participants should complete the online assessment, print out the bar code at the end of the survey have a photo ID on hand and wear a mask if possible. (Photo by Russ Mitchell)

Test Iowa has been available in Spirit Lake since Monday, June 22, and has allowed any Iowa resident to receive a COVID-19 test at no cost, regardless of symptoms or potential exposure to the virus.

"For people who have no symptoms, who have known or presumed exposure, that will be a way for you to get tested quickly free out-of-pocket and increased access," Zach Borus, a physician with Lakes Regional Healthcare in Spirit Lake, said when the clinic first opened.

However, he said if an individual is experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus such as fever, muscle aches, cough, headache, diarrhea, shortness of breath, or loss of taste or smell they should still be seen in person by a health professional.

Lakes Regional Healthcare's Respiratory Clinic can be reached at 712-336-6696 for guidance on whether it is best to receive a test at the respiratory clinic or at the Test Iowa site.

"Our expectation is that if you are having symptoms that you still call the respiratory clinic because we want to get you taken care of and get you evaluated," Borus said. "Sometimes the illness can be more significant than it feels initially. So we want to get you checked out."

In order to get a COVID-19 test through the Test Iowa clinic, the governor and local health officials encourage Iowans to:

1. Complete the online assessment at www.testiowa.com.

2. Participants will receive an email from TestIowa.com that includes a bar code at the conclusion of the online assessment. Iowans should print the bar code or take a screenshot of it.

3. No appointment is needed. Please wear a mask, bring the bar code and have personal identification, such as a driver's license. Be aware that healthcare staff will be dressed in appropriate personal protective equipment including a gown, gloves, mask, and face shield. This is for your protection as well as their own.

Test results will be emailed to the participant within 48 to 72 hours. The results are also available through Test Iowa's "Patient Portal." Participants should enter their personal identifier/bar code number to check their results. If the coronavirus test results are positive, the patient would receive further instructions about self-quarantine and any additional medical attention.

By the numbers

Photo by Seth Boyes

Lakes Regional Healthcare also provided some initial results from the Spirit Lake Test Iowa Clinic as part of its Friday update. Since the local clinic opened, at total of 1,576 COVID-19 tests have been completed and 73 people have been positive, which is about 4.6 percent of the tests. Any Iowa resident is able to get tested for free, so it is not known how many of the 73 positive cases are residents of Dickinson County.

The Iowa Great Lakes Area's first positive case was on March 26. The Iowa Department of Public Health identified 260 Dickinson County cases of COVID-19 as of Friday night. Of those, 154 patients have recovered, six Dickinson County residents have been hospitalized and two men, over the age of 80, have passed away.

LRH encourages people seeking more information to visit lakeshealth.org and follow Lakes Regional Healthcare on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

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