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Iowa changing how it reports COVID-19 results

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(KTIV) - Starting Feb. 19, the Iowa Department of Public Health will be making changes to the way it reports COVID-19 results on its website.

Health leaders say Iowa will no longer report individual test results, but total results instead.

This change was discussed by Gov. Reynolds and IDPH Director Kelly Garcia during a press conference on Feb. 17.

Reynolds mentioned that back in October she said that "continuing to report results for individuals would become more complicated and less valuable overtime as repeat testing became the norm."

According to Garcia, the shift from individual tests to total tests means that their positivity rate will align with total test results. Officials say this will make the positivity rate go down.

Previously on the homepage of coronavirus.iowa.gov, the state showed individuals tested and individuals who tested positive. Now, they will show the total tests the state has administered and the total number of tests that have come back positive. The difference in these numbers is caused by individuals getting tested more than once.

The number of positive tests is not the same as the number of positive cases. COVID-19 positive people may be getting tested multiple times. Rather than just reporting the new positive tests, KTIV wants to continue to report how many new individual people have tested positive.

To see recoveries for the state you must also scroll down to the bottom of the homepage and look at the "grand total" row of the summary chart.

The number of individuals positive will still be available on the website's "Positive Case Analysis" page. KTIV will continue to add the individuals positive from PCR and Antigen tests, to give the total number of individuals who have tested positive. We will subtract that number from the previous day to provide the number of new cases within the 24 hour period.

State health officials say the change is because at-home tests are becoming more available, and they want to prevent duplicating results on the website.

Health leaders say it's how they track other diseases, like the flu.

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