Reynolds hints at expanding school mitigation efforts

Henry County has five COVID-19 positive tests, while Des Moines and Van Buren each have two positive

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

FORT MADISON – Despite continuing to push a statewide shelter-in-place to the side, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds hinted Wednesday that additional mitigation efforts could be coming as early as Thursday.

During her daily Facebook press conference on Wednesday, Reynolds responded to a question from a pool reporter about school closures saying more action could be coming soon, with Iowa’s peak infection rate projected for the middle of April.

Reynolds said newly appointed Dept. of Education Director Dr. Ann Lebo has put a task force together to make recommendations to the state on the education.

GOV. REYNOLDS

“We started our day working on this and I know that Director Lebo has put task force together to really identify what this looks like,” Reynolds said.

“I had indicated earlier this week, this is Wednesday, by tomorrow we’ll be issuing an additional declaration to address what you’re talking about.”

She said with the state not reaching the peaks, which is two or three weeks out, health officials are still looking at metrics for making determinations.

Reynolds said state officials are also considering metrics that will indicate when the state might be able to open the economy back in some areas of the state based on data and metrics in use.

Reynolds was pressed on what metrics that state is using to make those determinations to “dial up or dial back” mitigation efforts.

“The percentage of population greater than 65, the percentage of identified cases requiring hospitalization, we’re looking at the rate per 100,000 impacted in the past 14 days, looking at long-term care outbreaks,” she said.

“Those are some of the metrics, but there are other assumptions in there as well.”

Some current national prediction models have Iowa predicted to hit a peak of 45 deaths per day on April 16, but those models do not include mitigation efforts already in place, including the closure of all schools and the closure of non-essential businesses.

Reynolds said those efforts should reduce the peak numbers in those projection models.

The governor continued to ask residents to stay home as much as possible, only got out for necessary trips and, if engaging in outdoor activities, maintain social distancing.

“Stay at home. That’s the best way to avoid being exposed and to expose others. Essential errands only, as little as possible, for groceries, medical… limited and one at a time. Enjoy outdoor activities but be responsible and work from home if you can.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 549 total positive cases of COVID-19 in the state with 52 new cases in the past 24 hours. Two additional deaths were reported out of Washington and Polk counties, both adults over the age of 81.

The Iowa State Hygienic Lab has reported 7853 tests for a positive rate of 6.99%. Of those tested positive 99 have been hospitalized, or 18%, 63 are currently in hospitals around the state.

According to IDPH, the locations and age ranges of the 52 new positive individuals include:

  • Cerro Gordo County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Clayton County, 1 elderly adult (81+)
  • Clinton County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Dallas County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Des Moines County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
  • Dubuque County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
  • Harrison County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Henry County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Iowa County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Jasper County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
  • Johnson County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Linn County, 2 adults (18-40 years), 2 middle-age adults (41-60 years)
  • Madison County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Mitchell County, 2 middle-age adults (41-60 years)
  • Muscatine County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • O’Brien County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Polk County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years), 3 older adults (61-80 years), 1 elderly (81+)
  • Pottawattamie County, 1 child (0-17 years)
  • Poweshiek County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Scott County, 2 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Story County, 2 older adults (61-80 years)
  • Tama County, 1 middle age adult (41-60 years), 2 older adults (61-80 years)
  • Van Buren County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Warren County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Washington County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 5 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 2 older adults (61-80 years), 1 elderly adult (81+)

A status report of monitoring and testing of COVID19 in Iowa is provided by IDPH and can be found here. In addition, a public hotline has been established for Iowans with questions about COVID-19. The line is available 24/7 by calling 2-1-1 or 1-800-244-7431. The state of Iowa has started sharing the number of negative tests conducted at outside labs, and is providing additional information on the conditions of those infected with COVID-19.

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