Kim Reynolds

Coronavirus Update – April 21, 2020

Kim Reynolds
April 21, 2020
Print friendly

Okay. Good morning, we’ll go ahead and start the press conference with an update on the numbers. Today, we had 482 new positive cases for a total of 3,641 positive cases. 33% of today’s positive cases are related to the surveillance testing that has been done at the meat processing facilities. We have two new counties, Cherokee and Humble, for a total of 84 countries. We had 1,331 negative cases for a total of 23,974 negative cases. We’ve tested 27,615 Iowans for a per capita test of 1 out of 113 Iowans. The state Hygienic Lab has 7,273 tests available. We’ve had 1,293 Iowans recovered for a recovery rate of 35%. We have had an additional 4 deaths, and all 4 are related to long-term care facility outbreaks for a total of 83 deaths in Iowa. 10% of all of our positive cases have been still related to long-term care facility outbreaks, and 51% of all deaths in Iowa are among our residences of long-term care facilities. Across all of the RMCC regions yesterday, there were 214 COVID-19 patients hospitalized; 23 were admitted in the last 24 hours; 89 patients are being treated in ICUs; and 60 are on ventilators. Also, in hospitals across the state there are 4,200 inpatient beds, 553 ICU beds, and 696 ventilators available for patient care.

As Iowa and the nation prepare to reopen, the ability to conduct large-scale assessments, and testing, is critical to understand how prevalent the disease is and how it is evolving. The amount of data available will help us control the virus while making evidence-based decision about how to ease the restrictions that have impacted our daily lives and begin to open up our businesses in a safe and responsible manner. Iowa, like all states, has had limited testing supplies and resources over the course of the pandemic. While in recent weeks our supplies has increased, it was still not at the level needed to further expand our testing criteria so that more Iowans who need a test, get one. And as I've said from the start with the team we need an all-hands-on-deck approach. Iowans have seen what public-private partnerships can do when times call for creative solutions. A number of Iowa based manufacturers stepped up to help us solve our PPE shortage by reallocating their normal operations to produce gowns, masks, face shields, for healthcare providers and other essential worker. At the same time, the state continued to peruse any and all sources to keep PPE flowing into our supply chain.

So, we’ve taken a similar approach in our pursuit for more testing. We’ve worked with our federal partners to secure additional resources as new testing technology became available; including Abbott rapid test and serology tests to detect COVID-19 antibodies. We also worked with local health care providers to assist them with securing tests, to be able to conduct testing in their own facilities. But there continued to be a need for diagnostic testing to identify as many positive cases as possible, to help slow the rate of transmission. And that’s why today I am really pleased to be launching Test Iowa. This is a public-private partnership between the state of Iowa, Noemie Health and the Silicon Slopes Initiative. This will make available 540,000 COVID tests to increase the state’s testing capacity by up to 3,000 additional tests per day – and that’s in addition to what we are already doing, And it will also help us gather critical information from Iowans that will help our health official better target and fight the virus.

Iowa is only the second state in the nation to deploy this ambition initiative which includes an online health assessment to determine if individuals should be tested and drive through testing locations where individuals are swabbed, samples are sent to a lab, and results are returned electronically within 48 to 72 hours. It’s as easy as three simple steps. Step one – you go to to complete a brief assessment to capture helpful information about symptoms or underlying conditions you may have, as well as where you live and what your occupation is. So this type of information helps assess your eligibility for testing and it will also help us identify potential hot spots across the state. Step two – get tested if you currently have symptoms; have interacted with someone who has already tested positive; or have recently visited a place where COVID is more widespread. And step three – if you test positive, we’ll do the contact tracing to determine who you’ve been in contact with so that we can identify other potential exposures and take steps to slow the spread. We’re also working to connect individuals who tested positive – we can’t do this right now but we’re working to accomplish this – to connect individuals who test positive for COVID-19 to healthcare providers through a telehealth visit to ensure that they get the treatment plan that’s best for them.

While the assessment is an important part of the process to see if you’re eligible to be tested, the information collected in critical to better understand, again, the virus activity across the state. So by taking the assessment and sharing the information, you can help us zero in on potential outbreaks and new clusters so that we can target our response and protect the health of others. Your information can also help us identify areas where minimal virus activity is occurring, so that we can begin to safely reopen our state as soon as possible. The assessment, it was created in partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Health and is conducted using the highest levels of security and privacy protection available. Your information will be used only for the purpose of combating the virus until the pandemic subsides. Once you complete the assessment you’ll receive a follow up email, with information appropriate for you. If you’re eligible for testing, your email will prompt you to schedule a time, at a testing location near you, and will also provide a QR code that you’ll need at the check in.

Iowa’s first testing location will open Saturday at the Iowa Events Center, north parking lot, in downtown Des Moines – and more testing sites are planned for other areas of the state and could open as soon as next week. We also will be doing a site in Tama tomorrow at a long-term care facility, so that will actually be the first site and we’ll provide more details on that tomorrow. As I mentioned, Iowa was the second state to launch this initiative; Utah was the first, and today we’re fortunate to be joined by Utah business leaders who are part of a collaborative coalition known a Silicon Slopes. This group came together quickly to significantly increase COVID-19 testing capacity in their state, and now we’re implementing it here. With us today I have Mark Neuman, founder and CEO of Nami health; Josh James, founder and CEO of Domo; Spencer Steed is the Vice president with Qualtrics; and Dave Elkington of the Silicon Slopes board. So thank you all for being here with us today and for our exciting announcement. So Dave, I know Iowans want to hear more about our partnership and how this testing initiative is going in Utah and what we can expect here.

[Dave Elkington and Josh James speak]

Thanks Josh. I think, actually, we have two already scheduled for Saturday – so even before we started, we got curious Iowans out there trying to figure out what’s going on. So I want to say thank you to all of you for partnering with us on this important initiative; and the group is going to stay on I think we you have any questions – which you’ll get an opportunity to have in just a moment. But first, I do want to encourage every Iowan to go to and take the assessment, and I want to especially urge the Iowans who work in the healthcare field and other essential services, especially our staff and our long-term care facilities and those who work in food processing and other manufacturing facilities. This is an important step to protect your health, your family’s health, and your fellow Iowans. The assessment takes only a minute, and if you’re eligible you could be tested as soon as Saturday, as I said, in Des Moines. More testing locations will be opening up soon, but we want to take this opportunity to be as open to as many Iowans as possible. So the more Iowans that take the assessment or are tested, the more it will help us understand about the virus and the more we can do to mitigate and manage it – so we can get life and our businesses back to normal as soon as possible. So with that, we will open it up to questions.

Reynolds, K.K. [DMRegister]. (2020, April 21). Gov. Kim Reynolds updates Iowans on the COVID-19 outbreak in Iowa (4.21.20). [] Retrieved on February 14, 2022 from