Iowa COVID-19 daily update: Gov. Reynolds expresses optimism, medical professionals remain pensive

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds updates the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak during a news conference, Thursday, Nov.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds updates the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak during a news conference, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, in Johnston, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

After weeks of warning about the consequences of Thanksgiving spreading COVID-19 further in Iowa, the travel season has begun in earnest, and it looks like people are still traveling anyway.

Iowa's COVID-19 numbers have improved compared to the previous two weeks, even dropping below 40 percent positivity rate on Monday. But, don't get too excited, as cases were back near 4,000 and positivity was back up near 40 percent on Tuesday.

This slight improvement in the numbers, plus the promise of a vaccine in the near future, had Gov. Kim Reynolds feeling like Iowa is on the right track with the virus. At her Tuesday press conference, Reynolds said Iowa is ready to quickly distribute a vaccine once it is made available, but still urged Iowans to be vigilant to control the spread of the disease.

Around the same time Gov. Reynolds was giving a positive message on the state of virus in Iowa, Iowa's healthcare workers were sending out an S.O.S. about the state of their workforce. It's not just COVID-19 that is challenging their workforce they say, it is COVID-19 plus a backlog of other conditions, fatigued staff, budget problems, and the list goes on.

In a sign that things aren't going back to normal anytime before 2021, both Linn-Mar and Cedar Rapids School Districts announced that they will be extending their virtual learning offerings past Thanksgiving break.

Daily Numbers (based on Gazette analysis of numbers Tuesday morning):

  • 3,872 positive COVID-19 cases
  • 19 new deaths
  • 39.6% positivity rate
  • Hospitalizations are up from 1,333 to 1,351
  • ICU patients have increased to 275
  • COVID patients on ventilators jumped 20 from 135 to 155, setting a record in the state
  • People aged 0-17 with COVID-19 added 439 news cases
  • Linn County added 212 news cases
  • Johnson County add 133 new cases

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