Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced the highest one-day totals of deaths and new positive cases during Friday’s COVID-19 news conference. She also announced the first steps to open up Iowa.
Eleven Iowans died and 521 patients tested positive in the past 24 hours, according to numbers released by the Iowa Department of Public Health.
One death was in Scott County.
That brings Iowa’s total number of deaths to 107 and total number of cases to 4,445. There were also 2,190 negative tests. 1,604 have recovered, while 278 are hospitalized, 104 patients are in ICU and 60 are on ventilators.
Reynolds also announced that elective surgeries can resume on Monday and farmers’ markets can reopen, while also asking for nurses to volunteer in case hospitals get overwhelmed and because of the high number of health care workers infected — 15 percent of cases, according to Reynolds today.
“As health care workers have become sick, nurses are in even higher demand … we’re gonna need your help,” Reynolds said.
But after her “personal ask” and one from a registered nurse for 30 years in Iowa on behalf of i-SERV, Reynolds turned back the clock to March 8 and started discussing the tough decisions that had to be made.
“This pandemic required a one-team approach,” Reynolds said. “And Iowans responded.”
Note the past tense. Yet, officials at today’s news conference also said the worst is still ahead.
IDPH Deputy Director Sarah Reisetter said the peak is expected in 2-3 weeks. On April 13, Reynolds also said the peak was still a couple of weeks away.
“I think it’s like 15 or 19 counties that haven’t even had any cases whatsoever,” Reynolds said in defending opening up businesses before the peak.
It’s 15. She reads the number each day at her news conference and it has held at 84 of 99 counties with positive COVID-19 cases since Tuesday.
And despite a new one-day high in deaths, a new one-day high in positive tests, a peak that has been “2-3 weeks away” for at least two weeks and a lack of transparency in the metrics guiding the decisions, Reynolds insisted in response to the news conference’s final question that the timing was right to reopen some businesses.
“We’re gonna look at ways to start to open them up. And it’s time,” Reynolds finished.