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Iowa announces new COVID-19 data reporting method, cancels centralized sign-up website

State’s weekly COVID-19 vaccine allocation to increase next week
Published: Feb. 17, 2021 at 11:44 AM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa announced on Wednesday it will report data in a new process, which will focus on the total performed number of tests rather than the individuals tested.

The change will significantly lower the state’s positivity rate because it will divide the number of positive tests by tests taken. Before, Iowa reported its’ COVID-19 data on an individual level.

The old method resulted in each Iowan only showing up in the state’s data once, no matter how many times they’ve been tested. For example, if someone has taken 30 tests, they were only reflected in the state’s “Individuals Tested” count once, not 30 times.

This resulted in the state having higher testing numbers and a lower positivity rate. But, Iowa did not display those numbers.

In October, the state public health department made a decision to display both total tests taken and individuals tested to reflect that challenge.

This change, which was announced Tuesday, will solely focus on the total tests taken The change is expected to go live sometime this week.

Director Garcia said it originally wanted to make the change earlier, but it delayed the change because the state department was dealing with a surge of cases in November.

On Vaccines, Governor Reynolds said on Tuesday that the state’s vaccine supply is increasing. She said the state’s vaccine supply will increase to 62,000 doses, which she said is a 24% increase from the 49,000 the state had been receiving.

She also said the White House said the Food and Drug Administration will make a decision on the emergency authorization for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine by the end of February.

Governor Kim Reynolds also announced the state will not move forward with the centralized COVID-19 vaccine appointment scheduling website from Microsoft. Our KCRG-TV9 i9 Investigative Unit reported on Tuesday, that multiple counties were unsure if they would use the site.

Reynolds cited the challenges other states have faced in the vaccine rollouts, and conversations had with vaccine partners, for the decision not to move forward with the contract.

“It quickly became apparent that integrating the many already existing registration and scheduling platforms that are used by some of our public health departments, pharmacies, as well as other vaccine providers, it would not be possible, in a timely manner, without significant disruption to their current systems, and we did not want to slow down the progress that we are making,” Reynold said.

Instead, Reynolds said the state is shifting its focus from building a new system to optimizing the overall registration and scheduling process for Iowans.

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