National Shortages of Testing Supplies Impacts COVID-19 Tests

September 1, 2021

With COVID-19 cases on the rise again across much of the country, testing supplies are in high demand. Locally, this impacts the availability of rapid COVID-19 testing, where results are ready within an hour.

“In some ways, it feels like we’re right back to where we were a year ago,” said Mitch Whiley, Laboratory Director at Cass Health. “Over the summer, we had a sufficient supply of rapid tests. Now that cases and the demand for tests are both increasing, we’re back to only receiving a limited number of tests from the manufacturer. This means we have to reserve the use of these tests for the most medically necessary cases, for individuals who are severely ill and may need hospitalization. For patients who are mildly ill, or who have no symptoms, we can still perform a test, but the results may take a few days.”

In Cass County, outpatient testing options at this time include:

  • Free home testing kits from Test Iowa. These tests can be ordered from or picked up from Cass County Public Health. The home tests are a saliva-based test, and results are typically available 48 hours after it is received by the state.
  • Outpatient testing at Cass Health. Outpatient testing is appropriate for people who need to be tested prior to travel, prior to a procedure, or who are mildly ill. These tests will be offered by appointment at Cass Health and then sent to a reference laboratory for processing. Results will typically take 48 to 72 hours and are delivered in the patient’s MyChart account.

To help prevent the spread of illness, all patients with symptoms who are tested for COVID-19 should isolate themselves while they wait for their result.

For more information about COVID-19, visit