WCHD will test for individuals seeking travel clearance

Local clinics are reporting increase in visitors who are sick

This graph shows the percentage of positive tests by age group during the past seven days in Webster County. Source: State coronavirus website

COVID testing needs throughout Webster County and throughout Iowa have increased in recent months as school has started, residents gathered for events, and people traveled and took vacations.

According to the state of Iowa dashboard, 152 positive tests were reported in Webster County in the past seven days. Over 11,500 tests were reported statewide in the past seven days.

Local testing for COVID-19 continues to be available in Fort Dodge at Community Health Center, UnityPoint Health, and Iowa Specialty Clinic.

These local clinics have seen a sizable increase in traffic from residents who are sick, as well as the worried well, asymptomatic individuals who were exposed to COVID, and those seeking testing for travel clearance, according to Webster County Health Department.

With the goal of lessening the asymptomatic traffic to the clinics, Webster County Health Department is now offering COVID-19 testing specifically for individuals who are seeking travel clearance or are asymptomatic but were exposed.

“We are an option for those who are not sick,” said Kari Prescott, director of WCHD. “Our local doctors need to be able to take care of the sick, so we are offering to take some of this traffic in order to allow that to happen.”

Travel clearance tests are a take home saliva test that is sent to the State Hygienic Lab with results emailed directly to the patient typically within 48 hours. Rapid antigen testing typically does not meet the current qualifications for travelers, so it is recommended if you are traveling, be sure to read the requirements carefully for your destination site and plan ahead for testing that may have to be sent to the state lab.

Individuals exposed to someone with COVID-19 and wishing to be tested should wait five days from exposure before scheduling an appointment for testing. WCHD has same day antigen testing available for those exposed individuals if they are asymptomatic.

Any resident who is in need of testing for travel clearance or as an individual who is asymptomatic after being exposed, should call WCHD at 515-573-4107 or log on to make an appointment at WebsterCountyIA.gov.

Anyone experiencing symptoms needs to be seen by their primary care provider, Community Health Center, or UnityPoint Health Express Care.

Additionally, prior to paying any COVID testing related bill – no matter where you received testing – please check with your insurance provider for coverage. If you were uninsured at the time of your testing, you should not be charged a fee as COVID tests are fully covered through a funding program by the Health Resources and Services Administration. If you received a bill for a COVID test, please contact the testing provider.

Webster County COVID-19 statistics reported

Over the last seven days there have been 152 positive COVID-19 cases reported in Webster County, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

That’s up from the 122 positive cases reported by the state agency in the prior seven day period.

The Department of Public Health reported that in the most recent seven day period, 8 percent of the tests administered were positive.

The new cases are largely among younger people.The department’s statistics show that 28 percent of the most recent cases are in people age 17 and younger.

The 18 to 29 age bracket and the 30 to 39 age bracket each accounted for 20 percent of the new cases.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 6,647 COVID-19 cases in Webster County.

The Department of Public Health reported that there have been 102 deaths in the county due to COVID-19.

The state statistics show that 60.5 percent of the county’s residents who are eligible for a vaccine have been vaccinated.


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