Good morning, we’ll go ahead and start with the case counts. So today we have 467 new positive cases, for a total of 6,843 positive cases in Iowa. 93% of today’s positive cases are from 22 counties where restrictions remain in place. We have 1047 new negative cases, for a total of 34494 negative. Yesterday we ran a total of 1514 tests, and we have tested 41337 Iowans, for a per capita rate of one in every six Iowans, and the state hygienic lab has the capacity of 4188 tests. 2428 Iowans have recovered after having COVID-19 for a recovery rate of 35%, and today I regret, and am very sorry to report, we have had 12 more Iowans that have passed away as a result of the virus. We know that COVID-19 poses the most risk of severe illness for older and elderly adults and those with pre-existing health conditions – and the vast majority of the deaths in Iowa continue to be among this very vulnerable population.
Iowa’s ability to expand testing is a critical component of our response to COVID-19. Testing ensures that we understand the levels of virus activity across the state and it provides us a road map to identify and isolate those testing positive; conduct case investigations and tracing so that can better contain the virus; and develop strategies to manage it for the long term. Because of expanded testing, and Iowa’s effort, Iowans’ efforts, to slow the spread of COVID-19, on May 1st we will begin to lose some of our mitigation efforts.
A week ago, I announced the launch of Test Iowa – and that’s a statewide initiative to dramatically increase our testing capacity for COVID-19. Any Iowan can go to testiowa.com and complete a brief assessment to see if they qualify for testing. Testing, for now, is prioritized for essential workers and people who currently have symptoms of COVID-19; or have been in contact with someone who has the virus; or have recently been in an area where it’s more widespread. But anyone can take the assessment at any time – in fact it’s really important that you do. The assessment also provides valuable information about what’s happening in different areas of our state. By completing the assessment, you can help us better understand the virus activity in your community, identify and contain a potential outbreak early, and expand business openings in safe and responsible ways.
And I am so proud to say that Iowans have responded to our call of action. In fact, since launching Test Iowa's just last week, we have had 442 thousand who have visited the site; we have had 229 thousand Iowans who have completed the assessment. The top five counties with the highest number of completed assessments are Polk, Linn, Blackhawk, Johnson, and Dallas. Of those who completed the assessment, 65% are female; 35% are male; 6% were age 15 – 24; 34% are age 25 – 44; 39% of those completing are the age of 45 – 64; and 19% are age 65 – 84; and nearly 1% were over the age of 85 and that’s more than 1800 people. Nearly 2,300 Iowans have scheduled an appointment after qualifying for testing, and even with a soft launch at the first test site in downtown Des Moines, we have tested 874 Iowans since Saturday. At this time, the Des Moines site will continue to be open Monday through Friday from 8AM to 6PM.
Today, the second Test Iowa site opens in Waterloo at Crossroads Mall – and you must have, again, completed the assessment, qualified for testing, and scheduled an appointment to be tested. Remember that when you’re going to the Test Iowa site after doing the above, bring your QR code which you received via email to your appointment, because that’s how we match your test samples and results to you. And next week we will be opening two more test Iowa sites in Woodbury and Scott counties.
Test Iowa is part of our solution of large-scale testing for Iowans, but we are also expanding testing capabilities for essential workers. Strike teams are now conducting surveillance testing, using both diagnostic and serology tests, for employees who work in long-term care facilities and in areas with widespread virus activity. Again, by proactively testing it’s another measure that we can take to identify, isolate, positive cases early and protect our most vulnerable long-term care residents.
Lastly week we had 315 long-term care employees in Tama County who were tested, and today we have a long-term care strike time in Muscatine County that will be testing 120 employees from 6 long-term care facilities in the area. Strike teams will also use Test Iowa sites to conduct surveillance testing of long-term care workers in surrounding counties, allowing us to efficiently access and test more of the essential workers in a timely manner. Additionally, we are providing testing supplies to a number of long-term care facilities across the state so that they can test their staff and residents when a positive case is identified in the facility.
Our ability to significantly expand testing, case investigation, and tracing puts Iowa at an advantage – its these tools that will allow us, like I’ve said, to track the virus activity across the state, not only from a macro level, a state level, but all the way down to a county, community, and even a zip code. As I mentioned yesterday with increased testing, we’re also expanding our case investigation teams. Today I've asked General Corral to provide an update on how the Iowa National Guard is engaged in this effort.
[General Corral Speaks]
Thank you general, and we’re so thankful to the Iowa National Guard and your soldiers and airman for providing the resources we need during this critical time. And we’re very, very appreciative of Iowans helping Iowans. So, on closing today, I again to say thank you to the nurses and other medical staff working at the Test Iowa sites; the nurses from the Department of Human Services, the Department Of Inspections and Appeals, who are part of our strike team; and the Iowa National Guard service men and women who are supporting them and helping expand our case investigation capacity. You’re providing an importance service as we work together to get Iowa back on a healthy path forward, we couldn’t do this without you. So, thank you – and good luck to the Test Iowa team in Waterloo today, and with that we will open it up for questions.
Reynolds, K.K. [DMRegister]. (2020, April 29). Governor Reynolds holds daily COVID-19 news conference, April 29, 2020. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VohTm6i9Gmg] Retrieved on February 14, 2022 from https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvSD6lYlbNdrZ9GFcZo6llg.