Iowa ending mandatory positive COVID-19 test reporting

(ABC 6 News) – The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said Thursday that starting April 1, they will no longer require positive COVID-19 tests to be reported to the state Public Health Division.

Beginning April 1, Iowa will remove the COVID-19 reporting dashboard, opting instead to incorporate COVID data into the weekly respiratory virus surveillance report.

“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.” 

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). However, according to Iowa HHS, “this type of reporting no longer accurately reflects the prevalence of the virus in the state.”

Iowa HHS says due to the widespread availability of rapid at-home tests – which are not required to be reported to the state – that the case and positive test counts are no longer “meaningful.”

Iowa currently has no mandatory reporting order for any of the other respiratory viral illnesses such as influenza, RSV, and rhinovirus. 

The decision by Iowa HHS is reflective of broader national trends, as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency would expire on May 11

TestIowa at Home will continue to offer free COVID-19 testing for Iowans through the end of 2023.