Okay. Well good morning. We’ll go ahead and start out with the report out, again a little bit different formant than what we’ve been using. But we have, today, 521 new positive cases, for a total of 4,445 positive cases. We had 2,190 new negative cases, for a total of 29,783. So yesterday, we ran a total of 2,712 tests which is significantly higher than what we’ve been running through the testing processes. We have also tested a total of 31,973 Iowans, and on a per capita basis that means 1 in 98 Iowans have been tests. So we really have significantly upped our ability to test Iowans which I believe is positive. The increase in positive cases today is related to testing that’s occurring among essential workers – again 30% of Iowa’s positive cases are related to manufacturing and 15% is related to healthcare workers. 1,604 Iowans that were diagnosed with COVID-19 have recovered for a recovery rate of 36%. Today I am really sad to report that we have had 11 additional deaths in the state of Iowa for a total of 107 who have sadly lost their lives to this terrible virus. Today’s deaths, many of them, are again among residents of long-term care facilities and, of course, individuals with pre-existing health conditions.
Across all of our RMCC regions yesterday, there were 278 COVID-19 patients hospitalized. 44 were admitted in the last 24 hours. 104 patients are being treated in ICUs, and 60 patients are on ventilators. So also, in hospitals across the state, there are 3,896 inpatients, 534 ICU beds, and 682 ventilators that are available for patient care.
The Department of Public Health has also confirmed that we have had one additional long-term care facility outbreak, and that is in Mitchel Village Care Center in Polk County – for a total of 13 long-term care facility outbreaks. Over the last two days, the Department of Public Health has deployed our long-term care strike team to conduct surveillance testing of long-term care staff members in Tama County. And this proactive strategy is intended to learn more about increased virus activity in the area; identify and isolate long-term care workers who may test positive; and prevent, of course, prevent introducing the virus into their facilities. In total over the last two days, they were able to test 315 long-term care staff – they did both dialogistic and serology testing were offered. So they were able to do both – it wasn’t a mandate but they did the swab testing and then if they wanted to they were also able to do the serology test, which is a test that detects whether you’ve had the virus, recovered, and you have antibodies within your system.
Today I also want to make a personal ask of Iowa nurses. If you are willing and able to volunteer as part of Iowa’s response to COVID-19, we need you. As health care workers have become sick, nurses are in even higher demand – especially in our long-term care facilities, and especially as we are doing more surveillance testing and identifying who has tested positive. We’re going to need your help. So volunteer opportunities are available through I-Serve, and that’s an online register for individuals wishing to volunteer in the event of a large scale disaster or public health emergency. Here to speak more about I-Serve and her experience as a volunteer nurse is Lisa Stewart. Lisa?
[Lisa Stewart speaks]
Well thank you Lisa, thanks for making a difference in the lives of so many people and I just want to say a heartfelt thanks for helping us spread the word about this opportunity – it is so important it is so needed at this time. So thank you for sharing your experiences and thanks for volunteering, I appreciate it very much.
So on March 8th, when I announced that COVID-19 was confirmed in Iowa, we started down a path not knowing exactly where it would – but we understood the significance of this time and the importance of doing whatever necessary to protect the health of Iowans, especially our most vulnerable. We immediately declared a statewide public health emergency declaration and response that, from the start, included diagnostic testing, contact tracing; all in a means to better understand the level of virus activity and how best to mitigate and slow the spread. This time has required me to make some of the toughest decisions that I’ve ever made as the governor of this great state, but they were necessary, and they were all made in the best interest of our collective health.
And it required every Iowan to do their part as well whether that meant staying home as much as possible; limiting your trips to essential trips only; working from home; practicing careful hygiene; and social distancing; and isolating when sick. And guess what? Iowans responded. I know it hasn’t been easy, but it’s made a difference. So thank you for doing the right thing for your health and the health of others. At the time, these bold mitigation strategies were necessary to do as much as possible, as you’ve heard, to slow the spread of the virus; protect our most vulnerable; preserve critical resources; understand what a surge might look like; and really prevent overwhelming our healthcare system.
We needed time to track and understand the virus and its potential impact so that we could respond with precision and force. And we’ve done just that. With the leadership with the Department of Public Health and in partnership with my team, state agencies, the Iowa National Guard, local public health, the RMCCs, hospitals, clinics, and the private sector. This pandemic required a one team approach, and I am so grateful for the willingness of everyone to work together to serve all Iowans. The work we’ve done in Iowa to significantly increase diagnostic testing; conduct serology testing to detect COVID-19 antibodies; deploy strike teams for targeted surveillance; expand contract tracing and supplement the PPE supply chain, the personal protective equipment, ensures that we have a strong public health infrastructure that we need to continue managing the pandemic while beginning our economic recovery.
While there are some areas in our state where virus activity is still high, we have many more areas where it is manageable or even minimal. And this presents an opportunity to open Iowa back up in a phased and responsible manner. Today, I’m announcing that effective Monday, Iowa health systems, health care providers, may begin the process of resuming elective surgeries and procedures through a phased in approach. Fortunately, Iowa has not experienced the healthcare surge other states have – and as you’ve seen daily through the RMCC reports, our ICU beds, vents, are well managed and in good supply. The coordination and collaboration between providers, systems, and the state gives us the confidence that we can effectively care for COVID-19 patients while also providing procedures to improve health and quality of life for others.
On Monday each hospital, outpatient surgery center, or clinic that determines they can safely do so, may begin. They may begin rescheduling patients and resuming surgeries and procedures according to their own schedules. In addition, the proclamation that I’ll be signing today permits farmers markets to beginning limited operations with appropriate public health precautions and provides additional relief to Iowans that are affected by this disaster.
So this is our first step of many to reopen Iowa and getting life and business back to normal as soon as possible. On Monday, I will be making additional announcements regarding the first phase of reopening Iowa. And so until then I want to thank every Iowan for making or comeback possible. Today we’re taking the first steps to get life and business back to normal, but as I mentioned yesterday it’s kind of a new normal that we’re heading into; and so we’re going to continue to ask you to do your part, and if we remain committed to working together and doing the right thing I believe that we will start and be able to responsibly open Iowa back up. And I really do look forward to sharing with you on Monday, the details of what that looks like. And again, it will be done in a responsible and safe manner, but we are at a place where it’s time to start having that discussion. So, thank you. With that I’ll open it up for questions.
Neither the Catt Center nor Iowa State University is affiliated with any individual in the Archives or any political party. Inclusion in the Archives is not an endorsement by the center or the university.