Kim Reynolds

Coronavirus Update - March 31, 2020

Kim Reynolds
March 31, 2020
Print friendly

Good afternoon, thank you for joining us. We'll go ahead and start the press conference with the latest data and updates on the numbers. Today we have 73 new positive cases for a total of 497 positive cases. We have 726 negative cases today for a total of 6,888 negative cases. We have 61 Iowans that are hospitalized as of last evening and we have 85 that have recovered. I am sorry to report that we have had one additional death, a middle-aged adult in Muscatine County and that brings our total to seven. Today we have 1,761 tests available at the State Hygienic Lab.

For weeks we have stressed the importance of people staying home and away from the public if they become sick even with mild illnesses. About 80% of people who become infected with COVID-19 will experience only mild symptoms. They may feel physically well enough to go about their normal routine but they should not. This type of behavior can put lives at risk. COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate, it spreads quickly and easily infecting young and old alike but the virus is far more serious for older adults above the age of 60 with underlying health conditions. And that's why nursing homes and long-term care facilities were identified early on as a high priority for mitigation efforts. Not only are they home to older and elderly adults likely to have one or more chronic health conditions but residents who lived in close quarters and congregate for meals and activities creating an environment for the virus to spread rapidly from person to person. As we've seen in some United States cities, this can have devastating results. In Iowa we've been putting in place mitigation efforts in the state long-term care facilities in the days following our first positive COVID-19 cases. On March 14th, the Iowa Veterans’ Home restricted all visitors and began screening all staff before they entered the facility. The Department of Human Services also suspended in-person visitation and implemented staff screenings at their six state-run facilities and the DIA issued similar guidance for nursing homes, residential care facilities, assisted living facilities and adult day services restricting visitors, suspending communal dining and group activities and screening staff. The Department of Public Health has conducted outreach to the 444 plus long-term care facilities across Iowa and hosted webinars to educate them about the virus and provide guidance on mitigation planning. The Department of Public Health also engaged Iowa's long-term care associations in the planning and mitigation process. Here with me today are Brent Willett from Iowa Healthcare Association and Shannon Strickler from LeadingAge to share how their associations have helped to prepare and support their long-term care members during this unprecedented time.

[Willett and Strickler speak]

Thank you, Brent and Shannon, I appreciate your comments very much and everything that you're doing to take care of our elderly. I also wanted to acknowledge we have Director Larry Johnson from the Department of Inspection and Appeals with us today so if you have any questions for him, Larry is here and happy to answer. And I too want to take just a moment to thank the doctors and the nurses and the assistants and the aides and others across the state who care for Iowa's seniors, whether it's a residential facility or it's in their own homes. And this is an especially challenging time and your work is so important, so please be safe and take care of yourself so that you can continue to serve Iowans who need you. Again, thank you, a heartfelt thanks for all you do.

And in closing today I want Iowans to know about an additional resource that's available if they need legal advice. So, we've been working on this and we have this set up. So, the COVID-19 legal information hotline will help Iowans who have questions or are experiencing legal problems due to this crisis. So, you can call them toll-free at 1-800-332-0419, again that is 1-800-332-0419. And this service is being provided by Iowa Legal Aid in partnership with the Iowa State Bar Association and the Polk County Volunteer Lawyer Project. So, thank you to all of those who are helping provide this important service during this time. And with that we’ll go ahead and open it up for questions.

Reynolds, K.K. [DMRegister]. (2020, March 31). Gov. Kim Reynolds updates Iowans on the COVID-19 outbreak in Iowa (3.31.20) []. Retrieved on May 26, 2020 from