Gov. Kim Reynolds will announce changes in mitigation strategies on Wednesday

Gov. Kim Reynolds will announce changes in mitigation strategies on Wednesday, postponing the announcement by a day so she can continue reviewing data, Reynolds said during her Tuesday press conference.


Katina Zentz

Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during the Condition of the State address at the Iowa State Capitol on Tuesday, January 14, 2020.

Julia Shanahan, Politics Editor

Gov. Kim Reynolds said she will announce changes to many mitigation strategies Wednesday, as the May 15 expiration date for these policies is approaching. 

Reynolds said she is still looking at trends and data and wanted to wait one more day before making the announcement. She said they have received “significant data” from eastern Iowa as the virus moves west, and that it has been helpful in looking at how to shift mitigation efforts.

Reynolds said that since March, the state has increased capacity for testing at the State Hygienic Lab by 800 percent, processing 3,800 tests a day. According to Iowa’s coronavirus website, the state has only reached 3,800 tests once, with test numbers falling below 3,600 in the first couple weeks of May.

She said that by the end of the week, there will be eight testing sites with a new site opening in Storm Lake.

On May 1, restaurants, fitness centers, churches, and other businesses in 77 counties were allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity. Many have chosen to remain closed, and others are taking their time.

“It’s not a mandate but an opportunity,” Reynolds said at her Tuesday press conference. “Each business will determine what’s right for them. 

Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health Sarah Reisetter announced that hospitals across Iowa will begin distributing remdesivir, a medication recently approved by the FDA that can be used in adults and children suffering from severe COVID-19 cases. Reisetter said the drug can shorten recovery time.

Iowa was given 400 vials, and Reisetter said one patient will use an average of 6-11 vials depending on their needs. The remdesivir will be distributed by the State Hygenics Lab to hospitals depending on the number of hospitalized and ICU patients, trends in disease activity, and the availability of necessary equipment. Reisetter said the drug must be administered by health-care professionals.

Reynolds said that Iowans have filed more than 206,000 unemployment claims and more than 147,000 federal unemployment claims related to the pandemic. She said many Iowans have lost health insurance. 

Director of Iowa’s Department of Homeland Security Joyce Flynn said the Governor’s request for the activation of crisis counseling programs was approved April 30. This program will provide virtual counseling to vulnerable populations — like victims of domestic violence, rural families, and unemployed individuals, among others — through an application process. Flynn said the program will help connect individuals with appropriate community resources.

The Iowa Department of Human Services developed the application and will contract with providers across the state to administer the application. The application for virtual counseling is not yet available.

On Tuesday, there were 539 positive cases, and 319 of those cases were among Iowans tested in Nebraska on April 28-30 tied to a meat processing plant. Reynolds said the state of Iowa just recently received the test results.


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