Free DIY COVID-19 test kits now available

Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

The last Test Iowa sites closed down on Friday, as the Iowa Department of Public Health ceased using drive-through test sites and started relying on at-home test kits to monitor the spread of COVID-19 in the state. Like the drive-through testing, the at-home testing program, which IDPH is doing in partnership with the State Hygienic Laboratory (SHL), is free.

The at-home testing does not involve the familiar, deep nasal swabbing used at drive-through sites. Instead, the test kits collect saliva samples. After the sample is collected, the person will contact UPS to deliver to the SHL for processing. According to IDPH, results will be emailed to the test subject approximately 24 hours after the laboratory receives the sample.

There are two ways to get a test kit for home use, either by picking one up at a designated location or by filling out an online form to have a kit delivered.

Last week, IDPH said there were “approximately 125 pick-up sites registered throughout the state.” According to the pick-up site locator map on, there is one site in Johnson County and two in Linn County, both of which are in Cedar Rapids.

In Johnson County, test kits can be picked up at the SHL’s Coralville location, 2490 Crosspark Rd.

“Follow signage from Crosspark Road into the State Hygienic Lab lot. Park in the Visitor Parking on the east side of the building,” the SHL said on its site. “Look for the ‘Sample Receiving’ Door on the east side of the building (do not go to the Visitor Entrance at the corner of the building).”

Kits can be picked up during regular business hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday; and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

In Cedar Rapids, kits are available at the Community Free Clinic, 947 14th Ave SE. Hours are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Mondays, and 8 to 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. Kits are also available at the offices of Linn County Public Health, 1020 6th St SE. The agency is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Those unable to make it to a pick-up location can have a test kit delivered to their home by filling out an online form.

Once the saliva sample is collected, it should be shipped to the SHL as soon as possible. Test kits can be brought to a UPS store or deposited in a UPS dropbox for delivery the SHL. People can also schedule a kit pick-up at their home by calling UPS, 1-833-286-8378

People with questions about the at-home testing program should also call 1-833-286-8378 for more information.

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