Kim Reynolds

Coronavirus Update – April 22, 2020

Kim Reynolds
April 22, 2020
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Okay. Well good morning, we’ll go ahead and get started with an update on the numbers. Today we had 107 new positive cases, for a total of 3,748 positive cases. We had no new counties, so have a total of 84 counties. 522 negative cases today, for a total of 24,496 negative tests. The State Hygienic Lab has 6,248 tests available. We have had 1,428 Iowans recovered, for a recovery rate of 38% and we have had an additional 7 deaths for a total of 90 deaths in the state of Iowa; and 51% of those deaths are among residents of long-term care facilities. Across our RMCC regions yesterday, there were 272 COVID-19 patients hospitalized; 70 were admitted in the last 24 hour; 92 patients are being treated in ICUs; and 57% are on ventilators. Also in hospitals across the state, there are 4,082 inpatient beds, 547 ICU beds, and 689 ventilators that are available for patient care. Today the Department of Public Health has also confirmed another long-term care facility outbreak at St. Francis Manor in Poweshiek County. And this does bring the total number of long-term care facility outbreaks to 11.

At yesterday’s press conference, I announced the launch of Test Iowa – and it’s a statewide initiative to access the health of Iowans; increase testing for CIVID-19; and really track the virus activity so that we can mitigate and manage it and start getting life back to normal. Iowa’s response to this opportunity has been incredible. In the first 24 hours alone more than 80,000 Iowans completed the online assessment, and more than 250 scheduled an appointment. We had 631 social media mentions of the #testIowachallenge with a reach over 18.8 million. Iowans are engaged and they’re excited, so we want to keep the momentum going. And you can help by going to and taking the assessment. It’s really the first step to understanding more about the virus activity in Iowa – again what we can do to mitigate and start to manage it so that we can open businesses back up, get life back to normal, but do it in a very safe and responsible manner our first drive through testing site opens on Saturday at the Iowa Events Center, the north parking lot, in downtown Des Moines. And we’re identifying locations now for additional sites in other communities across the state. We want to reach as many Iowans as possible.

So at this time, Test Iowa is being prioritized for those who currently have symptoms; have interacted with someone who have already tested positive; or have recently visited places where COVID-19 is more widespread. So, if you work in healthcare, law enforcement, manufacturing, or other essential services – please complete the assessment it is critical for all Iowans that you stay healthy and well. And this again will help us kind of understand the scope and spread of the virus and help me see if our workforce has symptoms and can get them the testing and get them back online. So we would encourage our first responders and healthcare workers and essential workers – take the test. If you don’t qualify for testing. After completing the assessment for the first time, that doesn’t mean you won’t qualify later. So if you develop mild symptoms or you begin feeling ill or if you become aware that someone that you’ve been in contact with has had COVID-19, then take the assessment again. So this is really a way to manage your healthcare through the assessment and Test Iowa app.

Your health can change day to day and there’s no limit to how many times you can complete the assessment. But the assessment, it's not a replacement for your healthcare provider, so just remember that if you are sick, and you need medical attention, you need to call your doctor. So be sure and follow through what we’ve been telling you to do, and this is just another tool to help us mitigate and manage the spread.

As you are aware the Department of Public Health is closely monitoring our long-term care facilities and communities with increasing virus activity or confirmed outbreaks. And they really have from the very beginning have been taking proactive measures to protect staff as well as residents. So today, the Department of Public Health is sending a long-term care facility strike team to Tama County, where increased virus activity is in the area. And it could increase the risk of exposure to residents and surrounding communities. So, by proactively conducting surveillance testing of long-term care facility employees in the area, we do have the opportunity again to isolate and identify positive cases early and potentially prevent exposing additional vulnerable residents. The team of nurses, with the support of the Iowa National Guard, will conduct diagnostic and serologic testing for all staff members of the long-term care facilities in the area. I’ve asked Sara Riester from the Department of Public Health to provide more information about this important effort. Sara?

[Sara Riester speaks]

Thank you, Sara – and I do want to thank everyone that’s been involved in making this possible. It’s so important that we take every precaution that we can to protect our long-term care facilities. I also want to thank Homeland Security Emergency Management, their EMAs are on the front line and a big part of this testing as well so they’re helping coordinate a lot of the interaction that’s taking place at these sites and will be very, very instrumental moving forward too. So I inadvertently left them out, and I didn’t mean to because they’ve been very integral in being a part of this.

I also want to clarify for the public that the testing that’s happening Tama County is specifically for the long-term care employees in that area. So this, it’s not a Test Iowa drive through site and so it’s not open to the public. As we collect the information, that allows us to really see where we need to do the Test Iowa Drive through sites, like the one that we will be conducting at the events center this weekend. So, this is separate from that – we identified that this is an area that we should really, with the increased number in positive cases, reach out and provide this type of testing. They’re doing it throughout somewhat of an appointment basis so we’ve been very systematic on how we’re having the individuals, the staff and their family, come through and do the testing.

So again, if you’re interested in being tested for COVID-19 go to for more information and complete the assessment. And as you’ve seen in recent days, the more tests we conduct the more positive cases that we’re going to identify – that’s just the way it's going to be, especially as we’re doing some of these large testing events, some of the processing plants. So, as our numbers have grown over the last week, so has the concern among Iowans but I want to challenge that a little bit today. We’ve known for several weeks that substantial spread was occurring across the state, and we’ve taken significant mitigation measures to slow it because we knew it wasn’t possible to stop it. So COVID-19, it is a part of our life and we must learn to live with it until a vaccine is available. The more we know through increased testing and contact tracing, the better that we can really target our response and mitigation efforts; through comprehensive ways to manage the speed of the virus with speed and accuracy. And really, again, I just want to reiterate, begin to get life back to normal. We’re getting closer every day, but we aren’t quite there yet. So, we expect our numbers and you’re going to see that continue to increase over the next several days, especially as Test Iowa sites open and more Iowans are tested. But that really is part of the narrative that we need to know, especially as we start talking about working with areas that are potentially hotspots and as we look to open up other areas of the state. As Sara said, we need to stay focused. Continue to do your part and together we will get through this and we’re going to be able to start opening Iowa back up. So with that we’ll go ahead and take questions.

Reynolds, K.K. [DMRegister]. (2020, April 22). Gov. Kim Reynolds updates Iowans on the COVID-19 outbreak in Iowa (4.22.20). [] Retrieved on February 14, 2022 from