WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Drive-Thru TestIowa Site in Des Moines County

May 26, 2020

The first drive-through TestIowa site in the southeast part of the state will open Wednesday, May 27. Great River Health is partnering with the state to operate the coronavirus testing location. 

The site is at the Des Moines County Fairgrounds on the campus of Southeastern Community College in West Burlington. Great River Health President and CEO Matt Wenzel said he believes that will work better than having it on the hospital campus.

“We can manage the traffic much better, more efficiently, through that site. When we get all of it set up and ready to go, we can see hundreds (of people) a day,” he said.

Wenzel said patients must complete an online assessment at the TestIowa website. They must then make an appointment.

He said the testing will take just a couple minutes and includes a nasal swab.  It’s all done without the patient ever leaving his/her vehicle. Results should be available within 48 to 72 hours. As for the cost, Wenzel said, “We will be billing insurance but there won’t be a fee to the patient.”

The TestIowa website said the program’s goal is to “dramatically increase the rate of COVID-19 testing so Iowans can have better access to testing and help stem the spread of COVID-19 to get us back to normal as quickly as possible.”

Wenzel credited State Senator Tom Greene (R-Burlington) with helping Great River Health get together with the state to partner on the drive-thru site.

“It’s pretty cool to see an idea come to fruition. I absolutely believe that it’s going to save lives, not only in southeast Iowa but across the state,” Wenzel said.

“We really took the lead in establishing a model that’s going to be played out across the state.”