HomeNewsArticle Display

Iowa National Guard helps set up new “TestIowa” COVID-19 test site

Members of the Iowa Air National Guard provide assistance at the “TestIowa” COVID-19 test site in Sioux Center, Iowa on May 27, 2020.

U.S. Air National Guard Senior Airman Manuel Zertuche 185th Air Refueling Wing medical technician works with medical staff in order to administer a COVID-19 test at the Sioux Center, Iowa “TestIowa” test site on May 27, 2020. Zertuche is working with the Iowa department of public health to help administrate COVID-19 testing as part of “TestIowa” initiative. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

Members of the Iowa Air National Guard provide assistance at the “TestIowa” COVID-19 test site in Sioux Center, Iowa on May 27, 2020.

U.S. Air National Guard Senior Airman Manuel Zertuche 185th Air Refueling Wing medical technician works with medical staff in order to administer a COVID-19 test at the Sioux Center, Iowa “TestIowa” test site on May 27, 2020. Zertuche is working with the Iowa department of public health to help administrate COVID-19 testing as part of “TestIowa” initiative. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

Members of the Iowa Air National Guard provide assistance at the “TestIowa” COVID-19 test site in Sioux Center, Iowa on May 27, 2020.

A group of Iowa Army and Air National Guard members work with medical staff at the Sioux Center, Iowa COVID-19 test site on May 27, 2020. The group of National Guard medics are working with the Iowa department of public health to help administrate COVID-19 testing as part of “TestIowa” initiative. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

Members of the Iowa Air National Guard provide assistance at the “TestIowa” COVID-19 test site in Sioux Center, Iowa on May 27, 2020.

Army National Guard Sgt. Dillion Kelley, Senior Airman Manuel Zertuche, Sgt. Clay Yates, Specialist Samantha Kutzli, Privet Rachel Coolman receive some last minute instruction from Ms. Sydney Bright with Nomi health on data input at the Sioux Center, Iowa COVID-19 test site on May 27, 2020. The group of Iowa Air and Army National Guard medics are working with the Iowa department of public health to help administrate COVID-19 testing as part of “TestIowa” initiative. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

Members of the Iowa Air National Guard provide assistance at the “TestIowa” COVID-19 test site in Sioux Center, Iowa on May 27, 2020.

Iowa Air National Guard Senior Airman Manuel Zertuche puts on person protective equipment as he prepares to help administer tests at the Sioux Center, Iowa “TestIowa” COVID-19 test site on May 27, 2020. Zertuche is a Medical Technician with the 185th Air Refueling Wing Med Group in Sioux City, Iowa. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

Members of the Iowa Air National Guard provide assistance at the “TestIowa” COVID-19 test site in Sioux Center, Iowa on May 27, 2020.

Army National Guard Sgt. Dillion Kelley helps Sgt. Clay Yates put on personal protective equipment at the Sioux Center, Iowa “TestIowa” COVID-19 test site on May 27, 2020. Both Soldiers are medics with the 1/168 Infantry, Iowa Army National Guard in Council Bluffs, Iowa. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

Members of the Iowa Air National Guard provide assistance at the “TestIowa” COVID-19 test site in Sioux Center, Iowa on May 27, 2020.

Army National Guard Sgt. Clay Yates puts on personal protective equipment as he prepares to help administer tests at the Sioux Center, Iowa “TestIowa” COVID-19 test site on May 27, 2020. Yates is a medic with the 1/168 Infantry, Iowa Army National Guard in Council Bluffs, Iowa. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

Members of the Iowa Air National Guard provide assistance at the “TestIowa” COVID-19 test site in Sioux Center, Iowa on May 27, 2020.

U.S. Air National Guard Airman 1st Class Cole Tylor, Airman 1st Class Isiah Gilmore and Airman 1st Class Colton Delanoit, all from the 185th Air Refueling Wing in Sioux City start a generator in order to provide power at the Sioux Center, Iowa “TestIowa” COVID-19 test site on May 27, 2020. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

Members of the Iowa Air and Army National Guard working with the Iowa department of public health set up a COVID-19 test site in the parking lot of the Sioux Center, Iowa middle School this week. The Sioux Center location is one of a number of “TestIowa” sites that has been set up in Iowa since mid April. A key concern for the TestIowa initiative are communities that have meat processing plants in the state that is largely dependent on agriculture or Ag related business. Iowa Air National Guard Master Sgt. Archie Kelly says the number of people tested at the test Iowa sites each day can vary widely. Lower thirds: Master Sgt. Archie Kelly 185th Air Refueling Wing Iowa ANG “We have seen anywhere from 50 to 200 a day at certain sites, so its a wide variety.” At the Sioux Center location guard members are helping direct people through the drive through site where medical staff and guard medics are working together to administer tests. “we want to be here for the people, we want to let them know that we are here, we hope that as many people that can come through and get tested, we want to get back to any kind of normal life as soon as we can” Daly samples collected from the site are sent to the Iowa Hygienic Laboratory in Coralville, Iowa. The distance from test site to the lab makes the northwest Iowa location the most remote TestIowa site where testing is being done. Officials at the Sioux Center site said National Guard members plan to provided manning for the test site in Sioux Center until next week but add that they are ready to stay longer if necessary. in Sioux Center, Iowa i’m Senior master Sgt. Vincent De Groot Lower thirds: 00:00:00- 00:00:10 - Sioux Center, Iowa 00:00:36- 00:00:42 - Sgt. Archie Kelly 185th Air Refueling Wing Iowa ANG 00:01:15- 00:01:26 - Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot reporting

Sioux Center, Iowa --

Members of the Iowa Air and Army National Guard, working with the Iowa Department of Public Health helped set up a new COVID-19 test site this week in the Northwest Iowa hamlet of Sioux Center.

The Sioux Center site is one of a number of “TestIowa” COVID-19 test sites to be in operation since mid-April. A key concern for the TestIowa initiative includes communities that have meat processing plants in the state whose economy is largely dependent on agriculture or Ag related business.

Guard members have been assisting local and state agencies at drive through test sites in different locations throughout the state.

Senior Airman Manuel Zertuche from the 185th Air Refueling Wing in Sioux City, Iowa was suited up in personal protective equipment and lending a hand at the Sioux Center test site. The 2016 Sioux City East High School graduate is one of a group of 20 guard members helping out at the Sioux Center site. Zertuche is a full time student at the University of Iowa and works as a medical technician for the 185th Medical Group as a traditional member of the Iowa Air Guard.

“This is a great opportunity to put our military training to use,” Zertuche said. “It is good to help people out, help everyone stay safe and give some peace of mind,” he added.

According to the “TestIowa” website, community members who suspect they have been exposed or may have signs or symptoms of COVID-19 can be tested. Once eligible, residents are directed to makeshift locations like the one set up in the Sioux Center middle school parking lot.

Upon arrival at the site, guard members help direct people to medical staff where the test can be administered. The process is accomplished simply by having the person roll down their window in order to submit to a quick nasal swab.

The test site in Sioux Center has Iowa Air Guard Med Techs like Zetuche and Army Guard medics working along side civilian nurses and medical staff administering tests. The goal of the project is to help track the spread of COVID-19 in the Hawkeye State.

Each day samples collected from around the state are sent to the Iowa Hygienic Laboratory in Coralville. The distance from the site to the lab makes Sioux Center the most remote location where TestIowa COVID-19 testing is being done.

Once the samples are delivered they are processed with the goal of providing daily results.
Officials at the Sioux Center site said National Guard members plan to provided manning for the test site in Sioux Center until the end of next week or longer if necessary.