Gov. Kim Reynolds announces changes to COVID-19 recovery reporting system

The new system will automatically count someone recovered 28 days after receiving a positive test unless the state learns otherwise.


Katina Zentz

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

Caleb McCullough, Summer Editor

Gov. Kim Reynolds said Iowans who have tested positive for COVID-19 will now be considered recovered after 28 days unless case investigators find they have not recovered or been hospitalized. The new change increased the number of people shown to be recovered from the virus.

Iowa’s recovery rate before the change was 62 percent, Reynolds said at a press conference Tuesday where she announced the change. The new system, which was put in place Monday, brings Iowa’s recovery rate up to 80 percent. As of Tuesday, Iowa’s coronavirus website shows 23,111 people recovered.

“We believe that this change more accurately reflects the number of Iowans recovered and will allow our case investigation team to have more time to assist Iowans who are newly diagnosed,” she said.

State case investigators contact Iowans who have tested positive for COVID-19 to begin contact tracing, Reynolds said, and then check back in 10 days later to find out if they’ve recovered. These calls often go unanswered, Reynolds said, which brought down the reported recovery rate.

The 28-day span represents two incubation periods for the virus, and it is the same metric used to remove long-term care facilities from outbreak status.

Reynolds acknowledged the increase in positive cases in several high-population counties in Iowa, but she contrasted them with the surges seen in Florida and Texas, noting that statewide, hospitalizations and deaths are on the decline. The percent of positive cases statewide has remained between 4 percent and 7 percent throughout June.

Florida and Texas are among many states who have reintroduced restrictions on bars and other establishments following a resurgence of coronavirus infections.

Reynolds, who has previously said she doesn’t plan on implementing another statewide closure of bars and restaurants, indicated she plans to leave the option to close again to businesses.

“What I love about the system that we’ve put in place, that Test Iowa has allowed us to do, is we are able to provide a lot of information for businesses and for Iowans, and then they can take that information and be responsible and make decisions about how they move forward,” she said.

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