A new COVID-19 rapid testing machine is now in Delaware County.
Regional Medical Center in Manchester was one of about a dozen facilities in Iowa to receive the new Abbott ID NOW machine from the Iowa Department of Public Health.
To determine who received these machines, the Iowa Department of Public Health looked at hospital capacity, the population of elderly, the number of long-term care facilities in the area and whether the location could serve as a hub to several rural communities for testing resources.
Delaware County Public Health Nurse Charity Loecke says the machine arrived Wednesday, with training on the new machine taking place this past Thursday.
Delaware County Public Health says the rapid testing will be used only in certain situations at this time.
Other testing for COVID-19 that are not deemed high priority will continue to be processed through the State Hygienic Lab and other national reference laboratories. RMC Laboratory Manager Ann Wilson-Grant says having this machine in-house is a step in the right direction, but she says the reality is that the number of test kits available to RMC is still much less than the number they actually need.
As of Monday morning, 138 people had been tested for COVID-19 in Delaware County. Only two people have tested positive so far, with one of those cases already recovering from the virus. The other case remains isolated at home.
Most other rural area counties have also tested between one and two hundred people, with the exception of Dubuque and Linn counties, which have higher populations. Over 700 people have been tested in Dubuque County and over two thousand in Linn County.