Iowa Pharmacists Begin Conducting COVID-19 Testing
Pharmacies have been heroically serving their communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by offering delivery, drive-through and curbside pick-up of necessary medications, as well as providing critical health services to patients unable to otherwise access them. In addition to these essential services, Iowa pharmacists are now beginning to administer COVID-19 testing.
Iowa pharmacies have the opportunity to greatly increase the state's testing capabilities with both diagnostic and serology testing. Rex Pharmacy in Atlantic and Oelwein Family Pharmacy in Oelwein are two independent pharmacies currently administering COVID-19 tests, but there are many other pharmacies in Iowa well-positioned to provide this service.
Presently, pharmacies are utilizing one of two testing models. Pharmacies can either partner with a lab to send a collected specimen in for analysis, or pharmacists can test, analyze and provide results all within the pharmacy. As COVID-19 tests are approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), there will be an increase in both models in upcoming weeks.
With the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' authorization of pharmacists to order and administer COVID-19 tests, and the Iowa Board of Pharmacy's subsequent guidance, Iowa pharmacists are qualified to provide COVID-19 testing for patients. Under Dr. Caitlin Pedati's standing order, the State Medical Director and Epidemiologist, all results from tests performed at an Iowa pharmacy will be reported to the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Iowa Pharmacy Association's Executive Vice President & CEO, Kate Gainer, stated “With pharmacies located in all of Iowa's 99 counties, there is a network of easily accessible sites for testing. Pharmacists are prepared to provide this important public health service.”