IOWA, USA — Iowa leaders said they're working on a long-term testing strategy as the state prepares to battle flu season in the middle of the pandemic.
"They've been very proactive in trying to be ready and anticipate what a flu season looks like," Gov. Kim Reynolds, R-Iowa, said Thursday during a COVID-19 press briefing. "How do we do a multiplex test if that becomes necessary? What happens if we have a vaccine?"
One test Iowa is looking at is a multiplex test, which would detect both influenza and COVID-19.
State Hygienic Lab Director Dr. Michael Pentella said if the state moves forward with a multiplex option, it has to be able to detect both influenza A and influenza B.
Dr. Pentella said the best sample type for both influenza and SARS-Cov-2 (COVID-19) is a nasopharyngeal sample, which is collected by a health professional doing a deep nasal cavity swab.
If the state purchases a new test yet to be validated by the State Hygienic Lab, it'll have to be validated; a process that took two weeks for the initial statewide test that was rolled out. Dr. Pentella said it's not possible to predict how long a different test would take to be validated.
On September 2, the governor's spokesman Pat Garrett said there have been roughly 205,000 Co-Diagnostic tests used at TestIowa sites.
The state of Iowa signed a contract in April with Nomi Health, which agreed to send the state 540,000 test kits.
In the meantime, flu vaccines are available at many major outlets like Hy-Vee, Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy, often times for free. You could also get a flu shot from your family doctor.
With COVID-19 still very much in out midst, doctors encourage as many people as possible to get a flu shot this year.