DES MOINES, Iowa – Effective April 1, the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (Iowa HHS) will no longer require positive COVID-19 tests to be reported to the state Public Health Division. Since March 2020, any COVID-19 test processed in a clinical lab was required to be reported to the state Public Health Division and then to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This type of reporting no longer accurately reflects the prevalence of the virus in the state.
According to the department since the development and widespread availability of rapid in-home tests – which are not required to be reported – the case and positive test counts in the state are no longer as meaningful as they once were. Iowa currently has no mandatory reporting order for any of the other respiratory viral illnesses such as influenza, RSV, and rhinovirus.
Beginning April 1, Iowa’s COVID-19 reporting dashboard will be replaced by the incorporation of surveillance data into the weekly respiratory virus surveillance report published by the Division of Public Health and available at https://hhs.iowa.gov/influenza/reports. The report will be published weekly, similar to existing reporting standards for other respiratory viruses. The Public Health Division will continue to review and analyze COVID-19 and other health data from several sources, including Syndromic Surveillance which the state has launched through the Health Information Exchange allowing near real time monitoring of illnesses.
“It’s important for Iowans to know that the Public Health Division will monitor the virus, just as we do for other respiratory illnesses,” said State Medical Director Dr.Robert Kruse.“The Public Health Division will continue to work collaboratively with our local health departments, healthcare partners in the state, and partners at the federal level.”
TestIowa at Home will continue to offer free COVID-19 testing for Iowans through the end of 2023.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services announced that based on current COVID-19 trends, they plan for the federal Public Health Emergency (PHE) for COVID-19 to expire at the end of the day on May 11, 2023.