CORONAVIRUS

In open letter, Kim Reynolds urges Iowans to keep up fight against COVID-19

Governor releases letter on pandemic's five-month mark

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds removes her face mask before speaking at a July 30 news conference in Des Moines. The governor on
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds removes her face mask before speaking at a July 30 news conference in Des Moines. The governor on Friday released an open letter to Iowans on the five-month mark of the virus’ arrival in Iowa. (Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

DES MOINES — Gov. Kim Reynolds on Friday urged Iowans to stay vigilant in their efforts to keep coronavirus in check and prevent a resurgence in COVID-19 infections that forced her to close schools, businesses and many activities for about 11 weeks earlier this year.

“Now is not the time to let our guard down,” Reynolds said in an open letter to Iowans she issued roughly five months after the coronavirus pandemic arrived in the state in March.

“Iowa has a lot to gain by working together to keep our communities healthy. Especially now, as we’re preparing to safely return to school,” she said. “Our individual actions will either keep us moving forward or put the progress we’ve made at risk.”

» READ THE LETTER: Reynolds calls on Iowans to not ‘let our guard down’

Reynolds has drawn praise and fire from Iowans in her handling of the pandemic that for a time shut down much of the state, limiting mass gatherings and idling workers or forcing them and their children to conduct business and education remotely.

To date, the virus has claimed 912 lives in Iowa, with 47,728 people testing positive.

“When emotions are high and opinions are strong, it’s important to take a step back and realize that we’re all working toward the same goal,” she said. “And even though we may not always agree on which path to take to get there, we are united in our desire to get back to the way of life we value as Iowans.

“We’re all in this together.”

The governor noted that case counts in Iowa and other states continue to “ebb and flow,” with much of the COVID-19 activity driven by young adults gathering socially, causing “unintended consequences” and concerns about the potential impact to vulnerable Iowans.

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“Normal during a pandemic isn’t the same normal as before,” Reynolds said. “COVID-19 is still a reality, and circumstances still demand we do everything within our control to contain and manage it.”

Calling preventive health measures the best defense against COVID-19, Reynolds reiterated the public health instructions to wash hands often, disinfect frequently used items, maintain social distance of at least 6 feet in public, “wear a face mask if you’re able, stay home if you’re sick, and please carefully consider whether certain social or recreational activities are worth the risk.

“Just as importantly, if you or someone you were in close contact with tests positive for COVID-19 and you’re told to quarantine, take it seriously,” she said. “You have the ability to effectively stop the spread of the virus by isolating yourself from others during the full 14-day incubation period.”

“These sacrifices seem small when compared to what’s been asked of other generations of Iowans and Americans over the decades, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.”

Comments: (515) 243-7220; rod.boshart@thegazette.com

Reynolds’ letter

This is the open letter Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds released to Iowans on Friday:

Tomorrow marks five months since we learned of the first positive cases of COVID-19 in Iowa. Since then, our lives have been disrupted in ways we couldn’t have imagined. Schools and businesses closed. A record number of Iowans were suddenly out of work. And our normal daily routines were turned upside down as we prioritized doing things differently to mitigate the spread of the virus.

From the start, we’ve each had a role to play to protect our own health, and that of our families, friends and fellow Iowans.

Early on, as cases were on the rise, Iowans dug deep and did their part. And it made a difference. Positive cases trended down, hospital capacity remained stable, businesses began to reopen and life started to feel a bit more normal.

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But normal during a pandemic isn’t the same normal as before. COVID-19 is still a reality, and circumstances still demand we do everything within our control to contain and manage it.

Over the last several weeks, we’ve seen case counts ebb and flow, just as many other states across the nation have. And while we know that the majority of them are driven by young adults gathering socially, it’s the unintended consequences of those activities that are cause for concern. Especially the potential impact to vulnerable Iowans.

Now is not the time to let our guard down.

Iowa has a lot to gain by working together to keep our communities healthy. Especially now, as we’re preparing to safely return to school.

Our individual actions will either keep us moving forward, or put the progress we’ve made at risk.

Preventive health measures are still the best defense against COVID-19. Wash your hands often and disinfect frequently used items. When you’re in public, maintain social distance and wear a face mask if you’re able. Stay home if you’re sick. And please ... carefully consider whether certain social or recreational activities are worth the risk.

Just as importantly, if you or someone you were in close contact with tests positive for COVID-19 and you’re told to quarantine, take it seriously. You have the ability to effectively stop the spread of the virus by isolating yourself from others during the full 14-day incubation period.

These sacrifices seem small when compared to what’s been asked of other generations of Iowans and Americans over the decades, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

COVID-19 has tested each of us, and it will continue to. But we can’t let it deter or divide us.

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When emotions are high and opinions are strong, it’s important to take a step back and realize that we’re all working toward the same goal.

And even though we may not always agree on which path to take to get there, we are united in our desire to get back to the way of life we value as Iowans.

We’re all in this together.

— Gov. Kim Reynolds

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Our most important Coronavirus coverage is free to the public.

If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please donate. Your contribution will support news resources to cover the impact of the pandemic on our local communities.

All donations are tax-deductible.