Rock Rapids, Iowa — Health Services of Lyon County — the county health department — says four free COVID rapid antigen at-home test kits for each household are available from the federal government.
We talked to Public Health Administrator Melissa Stillson. She tells us about it.
Stillson says she’s happy to pass along the information they received, but the four free tests have nothing to do with the county health departments or the Iowa Department of Public Health. She says public health departments do provide COVID-19 tests, but they are a little different.
Just to clarify, the free test kits from the federal government ARE rapid tests, but the ones provided by public health are NOT, and have to be sent away.
We asked her how to know if you should take a COVID test.
Stillson says it’s hard to know if your symptoms are cold or flu symptoms or COVID, but generally, COVID symptoms are more severe. For instance, the body aches are more intense, and there is often shortness of breath along with the other respiratory symptoms, plus exhaustion. She reminds people that they can always call the public health department in their county or their medical provider’s office and they can help guide them to the appropriate steps to take.
She says that’s also the case if you take a home test that comes back positive. They’d like you to call in, because there have been several changes in the guidance that they follow from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC. Quarantine and isolation times are shorter, for one thing. She says with the ongoing change, there can be a lot of confusion, and they can help you wade through it all.
Again, that address for free COVID tests mailed to your home is covidtests.gov.
Stillson also took the opportunity to remind you, that if you feel sick, stay home.
For your convenience, here are the phone numbers for the public health departments in our area:
O’Brien County Public Health (712) 957-0105
Sioux County Public Health (known as Community Health Partners) (712) 737-2971
Lyon County Public Health (known as Health Services of Lyon County) (712) 472-8200
Osceola County Public Health (known as Osceola Community Health Services) (712) 754-4611