County opens COVID-19 testing site at Iowa Western Community College

Hellen Wadman

Iowa Western Community College will now have COVID-19 testing on campus for students and staff. The college has reported 24 confirmed coronavirus cases. Pottawattamie County hopes on-site testing will prevent outbreaks. The new testing site will only be available for students and staff that are enrolled or work at Iowa […]

Iowa Western Community College will now have COVID-19 testing on campus for students and staff. The college has reported 24 confirmed coronavirus cases. Pottawattamie County hopes on-site testing will prevent outbreaks. The new testing site will only be available for students and staff that are enrolled or work at Iowa Western Community College. They must also have an Iowa ZIP code. “The quicker, get somebody in who is a possible COVID-19 person, the faster we can contact trace quarantine all of those speed factors will really be sped up by this site and allow us to hopefully contain the spread,” Pottawattamie County director of planning Matt Wyant said. The new testing site is ready to open Thursday morning ahead of the holiday weekend. Wyant said the site was offered through the state. “It is operated off the Test Iowa platform which utilizes that for signing up for testing, testing materials, supplies to our staff and then the results notification,” Wyant said. The testing is inside the Welcome Center. “When they come in I will actually have a clean test, clean bag and we’ll bring it over to the client at that time,” registered public health nurse Rebekkah Reilich said. Reilich will administer tests to students and staff. She said she will have a separate space to keep the unused tests and personal protective equipment sterile before a client arrives. “I will have a face mask using an N95 mask. I’m going to have a face shield. I’ll have gloves, my coat,” Reilich said. Before testing was offered on campus, students who suspected they had the virus would have to travel to one of the TestIowa sites. IWCC’s dean of student life Reanna Heim said the on-campus site will help students get tested quicker. “A lot of our students are first generation, low income and just so by nature of their situation they don’t have transportation,” Heim said. Right now, most of the confirmed COVID-19 cases are from outside of IWCC’s campus, but Wyant said that may change as the semester goes on. “I think once we see this go down for a few weeks that would be potentially where we see some pop up cases happen, where we found something being spread on campus,” Wyant said. Pottawattamie County officials applauded IWCC’s phased approach to bring students back to campus. Wyant said that with the combination of masks and social distancing has kept the case count down. Iowa Western Community College has about 1,000 students who are enrolled in the college, but live in Nebraska. Those students do not qualify for Test Iowa. Nebraska residents would need to apply for testing through the Test Nebraska website.

Iowa Western Community College will now have COVID-19 testing on campus for students and staff. The college has reported 24 confirmed coronavirus cases. Pottawattamie County hopes on-site testing will prevent outbreaks.

The new testing site will only be available for students and staff that are enrolled or work at Iowa Western Community College. They must also have an Iowa ZIP code.

“The quicker, get somebody in who is a possible COVID-19 person, the faster we can contact trace quarantine all of those speed factors will really be sped up by this site and allow us to hopefully contain the spread,” Pottawattamie County director of planning Matt Wyant said.

The new testing site is ready to open Thursday morning ahead of the holiday weekend. Wyant said the site was offered through the state.

“It is operated off the Test Iowa platform which utilizes that for signing up for testing, testing materials, supplies to our staff and then the results notification,” Wyant said.

The testing is inside the Welcome Center.

“When they come in I will actually have a clean test, clean bag and we’ll bring it over to the client at that time,” registered public health nurse Rebekkah Reilich said.

Reilich will administer tests to students and staff. She said she will have a separate space to keep the unused tests and personal protective equipment sterile before a client arrives.

“I will have a face mask using an N95 mask. I’m going to have a face shield. I’ll have gloves, my coat,” Reilich said.

Before testing was offered on campus, students who suspected they had the virus would have to travel to one of the TestIowa sites. IWCC’s dean of student life Reanna Heim said the on-campus site will help students get tested quicker.

“A lot of our students are first generation, low income and just so by nature of their situation they don’t have transportation,” Heim said.

Right now, most of the confirmed COVID-19 cases are from outside of IWCC’s campus, but Wyant said that may change as the semester goes on.

“I think once we see this go down for a few weeks that would be potentially where we see some pop up cases happen, where we found something being spread on campus,” Wyant said.

Pottawattamie County officials applauded IWCC’s phased approach to bring students back to campus. Wyant said that with the combination of masks and social distancing has kept the case count down.

Iowa Western Community College has about 1,000 students who are enrolled in the college, but live in Nebraska. Those students do not qualify for Test Iowa. Nebraska residents would need to apply for testing through the Test Nebraska website.

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