State officials say a maintenance upgrade to the state’s coronavirus website is the reason key Covid-19 data listed on the site dramatically decreased at one point this weekend.
The glitch in reporting the number of tests performed and Covid-19 deaths is fixed, according to a spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Public Health. Late last week, state officials began adding the results of another type of Covid-19 test to the website. Until last week, the only type of results listed were of PCR tests which detect the genetic material of Covid-19.
New “antigen” tests detect specific proteins that are on the surface of the virus. Dr. Caitlin Pedati, the state medical director, says when these results were added late last week, the positivity rate for all tests increased slightly.
“Specifically, our overall percent positivity increased approximately 0.2%,” she says.
By last Thursday, the state’s public health department had received the results from about 10,000 of these new tests and 80 percent of those tests were reported to the state since mid-August, “which demonstrates the increased use of this resource in Iowa,” Pedati says, “which is why it’s important that we include this information in the trends and information that we share on our webpage.”
Antigen tests search for certain proteins and can be processed faster, but these sort of tests account for less than 2% of the tests performed in Iowa last week. Test Iowa sites around the state will continue to use the other type of tests that look for the genetic material of Covid.