Kim Reynolds

Coronavirus Update - April 8, 2020

Kim Reynolds
April 08, 2020
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Good morning. We'll go ahead and begin with an update on the numbers. So, today we have 97 new positive cases for a total of 1,145 positive cases. We have one new county — Worth County — for a total of 79 counties. We have 1,151 negative cases today for a total of 12,821 negative cases. The State Hygienic Lab has the capacity to test 1,329 individuals. We have a 122 hospitalized as of last evening and we have 431 recovered, which is 38% of all of our positive cases. As COVID-19 cases continue to climb toward our peak, which is projected to happen later this month, we remain intently focused on our mitigation plan to protect the health of Iowans, ensure our health care system and workforce are stable and strong and slow the spread of the virus to save lives. But we're also looking ahead to ensure the health of our economy. In the weeks to come, as we see our rates of positive cases and hospitalizations decrease over time, we'll begin dialing up our economic response efforts. Currently, we're leveraging state and federal assistance to provide much-needed relief to Iowa workers and businesses now and to help get them through this challenging time until we are fully open for business again.

Two weeks ago, we announced the small business relief program, a one-stop shop for Iowa businesses to seek assistance through tax deferral including sales and withholding taxes and grants to assist with short-term cash flow needs. Since then the Iowa Department of Revenue has received 5,700 tax deferral applications and expects to approve another 2,300 this week while continuing to review the rest. All applicants in good standing with the Iowa Department of Revenue will be approved and notified by mail. When a deferral is granted, taxpayers will have 60 days from the original due date to pay their balance due — penalties and interest will be waived for those 60 days. The application process remains open through April. The small business relief program grants were also in high demand. The Iowa Economic Development Authority received nearly 14,000 applications from Iowa businesses requesting a total of more than a 148 million in eligible assistance. Today, I’m expanding the program from its original 4 million to 24 million which will be provided through the State Economic Emergency Fund and the Iowa Economic Development Authority. And I'm pleased to announce that the first round of funding will assist more than 500 restaurants, bars, breweries that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These businesses were among the first to close their normal operation and it is our goal to get them back up and running as soon as possible. Here to provide some more information is Director Durham, the director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Debi?

[Debi Durham speaks]

Thank you, Debi. And I want to thank the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Iowa Department of Revenue for the effort that your teams have put forth to help Iowans at this time. You know, there is absolutely no playbook for the situation that we're in right now but your willingness to develop solutions that will provide relief until we get things back up and running is making a difference for so many Iowa businesses and families during this time. So, again, just a heartfelt thank you to all that you've done.

So, yesterday I did also provide additional information about some of the data that we are tracking to ensure that our hospitals have the resources they need to care for Iowans and as our number of positive COVID cases continue to increase. So, as I mentioned, six Regional Medical Coordination Centers — or RMCCs is how you’ll hear us refer to them — have been established by the Iowa National Guard to support the Iowa Department of Public Health and our Iowa healthcare coalitions. The RMCCs help facilitate communication, critical information sharing and coordination of healthcare resources within a region or across the state as needed. Today I want to take a look at two additional regions and provide a snapshot of Hospital resources that are currently in use for COVID-19 patients and the resources available to care for others. So, we'll start with region one. The RMCC region one is located in the central and south-central part of the state and it includes the Des Moines Metro Area. So, as of yesterday, there were 33 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in region one. No new patients were admitted in the last 24 hours, they have 11 in the ICUs and six were on ventilators. At the same time there were 1,433 inpatient beds available, 179 ICU beds and 221 ventilators available and ready for patient care. In RMCC region number two, which covers central and north-central part of the state. They have two COVID-19 patients that were hospitalized in region two yesterday. No new patients were admitted in the last 24 hours. One patient was being cared for in an ICU and one was on a ventilator. During that same timeframe, there were 231 inpatient beds available, 11 ICU beds and 26 ventilators available in region two hospitals. Just as we saw yesterday, patient volume is manageable and resources are in good supply at this time.

You may have noticed that the number of beds and ventilators is significantly less in region two compared to the other RMCC regions. North-central Iowa has a much smaller population, the hospitals in those counties are smaller and they have fewer resources than hospitals in more of our urban areas of the state. But if a facility in region two experiences an increase in COVID-19 patients and needs medical equipment, the RMCC will facilitate getting it to them. In addition, if a patient in region two community needs a higher level of care that what is available locally, they can be transported to another hospital either in the same region or elsewhere in the state. And this is the purpose of really establishing the RMCC model now so that we are ready to respond to any situation that may unfold. Again, I want to thank the Iowa National Guard, the Iowa Department of Public Health, the Homeland Security and the local public health officials and Iowa's healthcare coalition partners for working together as one system of care. As I've said multiple times, we are in this together and I greatly appreciate everything that they are doing to make sure that first of all, everything that we're doing is to prevent overwhelming our hospital facilities and to protect our health care workers and to protect the most vulnerable, but also that we are prepared in the case that we start to see an increase in the numbers. So, with that we'll open it up for questions.

Reynolds, K.K. [DMRegister]. (2020, April 8). Gov. Kim Reynolds updates Iowans on the COVID-19 outbreak in Iowa (4.8.20) []. Retrieved on June 9, 2020 from