Kim Reynolds

Coronavirus Update - March 30, 2020

Kim Reynolds
March 30, 2020
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Well good afternoon. So, we'll go ahead and begin today's press conference with an update on the numbers from last night. Today we have 88 new positive cases for a total of 424 positive cases in 56 counties. We had 1,149 negative cases today for a total of 6,162 negative tests. We have 51 hospitalized as of last evening and again, I'm sorry to report that we have had two additional deaths, for a total of six. Both were elderly adults 81 years of age and older. One was a resident of Linn County and one of Washington County. We have approximately 1,900 tests available through the State Hygienic Lab. The Department of Public Health has also confirmed an outbreak in a long-term care facility in Cedar Rapids. An outbreak means that three or more residents in the facility have tested positive. 21 of Linn County's 71 total positive COVID-19 cases are directly related to this outbreak. State and local public health officials are working closely with the facility regarding the care of those who are sick and assisting with the monitoring of other residents and staff. Early on in our mitigation efforts state long-term care facilities and others implemented staff screening procedures at the start of each shift to reduce the risk of exposing residents to the virus. Last week, I ordered staff screening, including a temperature check in all healthcare facilities across the state. And this is a critical step to ensure health care workers are healthy and to protect the most vulnerable Iowans.

Today starts the fourth week since Iowa's first coronavirus cases were confirmed and the reality is that the end is not yet in sight. Late yesterday, President Trump announced that he is extending social distancing guidelines to April 30th to continue slowing the spread of the virus. The significant mitigation steps that we have taken in Iowa are aimed at that same goal and we continue to assess our actions on a daily basis. For now, we must adjust to a new normal. One that's uncomfortable, it’s inconvenient and it's uncertain, and this is not an easy time. But if we know something about Iowans it's that we are at our best when times are tough. We see it during harvest time when area farmers come together to help get the crop out of the field for a struggling farm family. We see it during times of natural disasters when people from across the state show up with donations of food, clothing and shelter because it's the right thing to do. And now, even as our resolve is being tested in ways like never before, Iowans are more determined than ever to step up and care for their own. The number of Iowa businesses that have reached out to ask how they can help Iowans in this state in this time of need has been nothing short of inspiring. As you know, one of our top challenges continues to be the national shortage of personal protective equipment. Without adequate PPE like masks, gowns and face shields that serve as a barrier between a provider and a patient with COVID-19, our health care professionals are risking their own health to serve those who are sick and we must do everything we can to protect them. As I've said almost daily on the topic of PPE, we’re working closely with healthcare systems, hospitals, long-term care facilities and others to monitor the PPE and to get the supplies where they're needed most. Health care providers are continuing to place orders through suppliers as they normally do and they are ordering from the state through their county EOC. Homeland security and emergency management fulfills county requests through the state and national stockpiles and also places outside orders. Currently the state's pending orders include over two million surgical and procedural masks, 500,095 masks, 500,000 + face shields and 250,000 gowns. As soon as supplies arrive, they are immediately allocated and distributed by the Iowa National Guard, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Transportation and others to the county and then to the facilities. As of yesterday, 153 total deliveries have been made to all 99 counties, still we cannot fulfill 100% of the need. Every state and healthcare facility in the nation needs the same PPE that we do and all of them are placing orders at the same frequency that we are and that's why as I've said over and over we're taking in all hands-on approach and it makes us work even harder to find more solutions.

Here in Iowa, private sector manufacturers and other partners are stepping up with offers to produce PPE or to donate the supplies, technology and services to do so. Increasing the number of face shields available for frontline clinicians means that they can get greater flexibility with the type of mask used. Several Iowa companies are starting production of face shields for our health care systems and providers. Metalcraft in Mason City and Wheaton Capital in Fairfield are developing prototypes, securing materials and gearing up for large-scale production. John Deere is making face shields at its various plants across the state and donating them to healthcare providers in their local communities. In Iowa City, Fab Lab is making face shields for the University of Iowa. Other companies are reassigning their industrial sewing operators to produce masks and gowns. Winnebago Industries in Forest City is producing masks for its local healthcare systems. And other companies that have contacted the state are preparing to transition their production so that they can begin sewing masks, gowns and other PPE as soon as possible. And big things are happening even on a smaller scale, Eric Engelmann of NewBoCo in Cedar Rapids enlisted the help of his co-workers, his network and an assembly line of 3D printers to create and deliver more than 3,000 face shields to health care providers across the state. Eric's effort started only a week ago but he's already inspired an army of volunteers and touched countless others including the healthcare providers that he's helping protect. And stories of PPE donations continue to roll in. DMACC recently donated 4,095 masks to Broadlawns Hospital in Des Moines and Kum & Go also donated masks for distribution to where they are needed most. The ingenuity and generosity of these partners and others will enable us to supplement our supply chain and better support the needs of Iowa’s healthcare system and our health care providers at this critical time. So now I'm asking also for your help. If you can sew, we need your time and talent to produce fabric face masks to protect Iowa's frontline workers. The Department of Public Health has issued simple guidelines and instructions that you can find online at coronavirus.iowa.gov. These masks can be used in health care settings under a face shield if properly cleaned and disinfected they can be worn multiple times and will help preserve other medical grade PPE. Once made you can donate them to the health care facility of your choice, just call first to find out how and where to drop them off. If you're willing and able we need your help. So, thank you for considering to be a part of the solution at hand. And with that we will open it up to questions.

Reynolds, K.K. [Iowa PBS]. (2020, March 30). Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds Press Conference | March 30, 2020, 2:30 p.m. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=es6NiBfhYP0]. Retrived on May 23, 2020 from https://www.youtube.com/user/IowaPublicTelevision.