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Iowa DOT crews worked Tuesday to set up cones and barrels to guide those who will be tested for COVID-19 at a TestIowa site at the Beach in Ottumwa. The drive-through site opens at noon Wednesday, but people must have a referral from

testiowa.com

in order to be tested.

OTTUMWA — The TestIowa site in Ottumwa will open at noon Wednesday for those who have appointments scheduled after screening through the testiowa.com website.

Wapello County Emergency Management Director Tim Richmond confirmed Tuesday the COVID-19 testing site will be open from noon to 6 p.m. both Wednesday and Thursday. Hours expand on Friday, with tests being conducted from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

All testing is being done at a drive-through location being set up at The Beach. Crews from the Iowa Department of Transportation were laying out cones and markers on Tuesday to direct traffic. Assistance is expected on testing days from the Iowa National Guard and local law enforcement as well.

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced the Ottumwa testing site on Monday, and it was quickly confirmed by local officials. Mayor Tom Lazio called it “a major opportunity for the community.”

Richmond said during Monday’s press conference that “you cannot just walk up to the test site and get a test.” Testing requires screening through testiowa.com and a referral from that screening.

Wapello County has emerged as one of the state’s significant hotspots for COVID-19 this month. The county was at 24 cases on May 1 and has more than 10 times that number now. But there has been just one death reported in the county.

Part of the increase can be attributed to increased testing. State figures show significant daily increases in the number of county residents tested in May as compared to late April. But the rate of positive tests remains very high compared to the rest of the state, ranging from 30-50 percent in recent days. Experts have said communities need to have a positive rate of about 10 percent to be confident in efforts to track the virus.

— Matt Milner can be reached at mmilner@ottumwacourier.com and followed on Twitter @mwmilner

— Matt Milner can be reached at mmilner@ottumwacourier.com and followed on Twitter @mwmilner

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Managing Editor

Matt Milner currently serves as the Courier's Managing Editor. Milner is a trained weather spotter and is usually outside if there are storms. He joined the Courier in 2002.

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