Okay, good morning – we’ll go ahead and get started with an update on the cases. Today we have 349 new positive cases, for a total of 5,868 positive cases. We have 1,668 negative cases, for a total of 32,282. Yesterday we ran a total of 2,061 tests and a total of 38,158 Iowans have been tested. 2,021 Iowans diagnosed with COVID-19 have recovered for a recovery rate of 34%. I am also very sorry to report that we did have 9 additional deaths in Iowa for total of 127 Iowans who have lost their lives due to this virus. Again, today’s deaths are among older and elderly adults - 8 are with known pre-existing conditions and we’re still determining on one of them.
As we have seen over the past week, we have significantly expanded testing across the state, which allows us to identify and isolate people with the virus; conduct case investigation and tracing; and better understand virus activity in in our state and target our response with speed and accuracy. We have also begun serology testing which detects COVID-19 antibodies, and this means a person has already had the virus and recovered. Expanding this new type of testing is another tool to understand virus activity, which will up us identify Iowans who test positive for the virus but were potentially asymptomatic. Expanding testing is a significant advantage that we have in Iowa. Many states don’t yet have the capacity to test more of their citizens. Currently, on a per capita basis, 1 in every 82 Iowans have been tested for COVID-19. And soon we’ll continue to be able to expand our testing for up to 3,000 more Iowans a day, once all of the test sites are open and at full capacity, and that’s on top of what we’re already doing. Testing, as I said, is another tool that allows us to make evidence-based decisions about how to mitigate and manage the virus with precision. Whether at a macro level or down to a specific county, community, or zip code.
The reality is that we can’t stop the virus, that it will remain in our communities until a vaccine is available. Instead, we must learn to live with COVID virus activities without letting it govern our lives. Like people in every state in American, and countries across the world, Iowans have made significant changes in their daily lives to protect their health and the health of others. And I know it’s not been easy but staying home as much as possible; leaving only if or essential errands; social distancing; careful hygiene; and isolating when sick has made a real difference. Every Iowan as a personal responsibility to do their part, and these steps must, and will, continue to keep us on a healthy path going forward.
As governor I had the responsibility to implement significant mitigation measures to protect Iowans during an unprecedented time, which included closing some businesses, suspending elective procedures – as well as many other things – all in an effort to slow the spread of the virus; preserve critical health care resources; and prevent overwhelming our hospital systems. However, this level of mitigation is not sustainable for the long term, and it has unintended consequences for Iowa families. So we must gradually shift from an aggressive mitigation strategy to focusing on containing and managing virus activity for the long term – in a way that allows us to safely and responsibly balance the health of our people and the health of our economy. I believe that if Iowans continue working together as we have the last few months, we can protect lives and severe livelihoods at the same time.
As you have seen from the data that we provide daily, and what’s posted online, Iowa has specific locations where virus activity is widespread; and we have areas where virus activity is sporadic; and other locations where there is no activity at all. Knowing this, we can take a targeted approach to loosening restrictions on businesses and counties where there is no virus activity or, where virus activity has been consistently low and shown a downward trend. Effective May 1st, in 77 counties, the following businesses can choose to reopen but must comply with certain restrictions: restaurants, fitness centers, and retail stores previously closed may reopen at 50% of normal operating capacity. And closed malls may reopen at 50% capacity, but play areas and common seating areas including food court dining must remain closed. Restaurants and food courts may operate on a carryout basis. Additionally, social, community, recreational, and leisure and sporting events will continue to be limited to 10 people – but recognizing the significant constitutional liberties involved, I am lifting the limits on spiritual and religious gatherings. In all cases, businesses and churches approved for reopening must also adhere to social distancing, hygiene, public health measures, and business guidelines from the Department Of Public Health to of course reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
All other existing closures will be extended for the entire state through May 15th. I strongly encourage all vulnerable Iowans, including those with pre-existing conditions, and those older than 65 throughout the state to continue to limit their activities outside of their homes. I know that there are many more Iowans who are eager to know when their communities will begin to reopen, and I want to reassure you that we will continue to monitor all areas of the state on a daily basis for trends and virus activity. As we see downward trends and stabilization in other areas of the state, we will continue to adjust the restrictions accordingly.
I want to thank every Iowan for making this possible – your commitment to doing the right thing to protect your health and the health of others is working, but our working is not done. So I need you to continue to do your part, so that together, we can slow the spread of the virus and eventually open all business in all 99 counties. It may take some time, but it will happen. Continue doing what you’re doing to protect yourself and your family, our most vulnerable Iowans, and essential workers – and get Iowa back stronger than over as possible.
And with that we’ll open it up for questions.
Reynolds, K.K. [DMRegister]. (2020, April 27). Gov. Kim Reynolds updates Iowans on the COVID-19 outbreak in Iowa (4.27.20). [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMeJ8-VTvJ8] Retrieved on February 14, 2022 from https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvSD6lYlbNdrZ9GFcZo6llg.