17 more Iowans die of COVID-19 as state passes 300 deaths, opens restaurants, salons, gyms statewide

Local News

At her daily news conference on Wednesday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced that the restrictions that were loosened for 77 counties on May 1 will apply to all 99 on Friday.

“Iowans are eager to get things back to the way that they were,” Reynolds said.

Restaurants, gyms, salons and more will be able to open throughout the state. Bars, movie theaters and casinos must remain closed.

“Many Iowans have been looking forward at getting life back to normal, like going to the gym,” Reynolds said. “And on Friday, that’s possible. … Getting exercise is great for the soul and the system and it’s great for the stress that we’re all under during this really difficult time.”

That news comes after Iowa’s third deadliest day of the pandemic was announced, which followed the second deadliest day in the state.

The Iowa Department of Public Health announced Wednesday that 17 more Iowans had died of COVID-19, bringing the state’s total to 306.

Another 377 positive cases were announced, putting that total at 13,289.

In addition, 336 Iowans recovered for a total of 5,954, and 85,719 have been tested.

“I think it’s in our DNA … for Iowans to power through,” Reynolds said, citing recent flooding and mentioning the state’s three-phase approach: “Stabilize. Recover. Grow.”

Reynolds discontinued her practice of starting each news conference with the updated statistics last Thursday.

When asked about that Wednesday, she said it’s because there’s “access to the data on the website… It’s there and accessible.”

One stat Reynolds did highlight in an attempt to reassure Iowans: “57 percent of those who have lost their life to the virus are residents of long-term care facilities.”

She added that older adults over the age of 65 and anyone with pre-existing health conditions “can have devastating consequences” if they contract COVID-19.

“Sadly, the vast majority of deaths in our state are among this very vulnerable population,” Reynolds said.

Her advice to them as the state reopens?

“We urge older Iowans and those with chronic health conditions to continue to stay home as much as possible, leave only for essential errands and when you do, practice social distancing and consider wearing a face cover or a mask when in public, limit your participation in gatherings of any size or purpose,” Reynolds said.

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