JOHNSTON — Gov. Kim Reynolds is not considering an order that Iowans remain sheltered in their homes to manage the continued spread of the coronavirus, she said Thursday.
Reynolds also said Iowa’s state government is working with partners in the federal government and the private sector to help ensure Iowa hospitals have sufficient supplies to deal with the coronavirus as more Iowans become infected.
During a news conference Thursday at the State Emergency Operations Center at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Reynolds also said she has not activated the Iowa National Guard.
“No, (a shelter-in-place order) is not on the table or something that we’re considering,” Reynolds said. “We have asked people to follow simple directives, and hopefully they can do that. We’re counting on every Iowan to do their part, and my faith is with them.”
As of Thursday afternoon, Iowa had 44 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 13 counties, Reynolds said.
Six of those cases were new announcements on Thursday, they include three who reside in Polk County and one each in Muscatine, Dubuque and Johnson counties. Two non-residents tested positive at Iowa health care facilities.
There have been 642 negative tests at the state hygienic lab, Reynolds’ office said.
The governor’s public health department leader on the state’s COVID-19 response urged hospitals and Iowans to be judicious with current resources, including testing kits and medical supplies.
Hospital officials in Iowa and across the country have expressed concern that hospitals will not have sufficient resources to accommodate all who need treatment if the virus continues to spread.
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“It’s something that we’ve been working with our partners to hear about, and hear what their supply needs are. I think that what we’ve recognized is that the national environment is that there’s a lot of need around these supplies,” Dr. Caitlin Pedati, medical director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, said Thursday.
“So we’ve helped our partners be forward-thinking and thinking about ways to make prudent use of the supplies that we have, thinking about ways to provide supplements when we can, and just wanting to be very careful and thoughtful about how we use all of our health care resources,” Pedati said.
As of Thursday afternoon the state hygienic lab had the capability to perform roughly 800 tests, Reynolds’ office said, and that number fluctuates daily as individuals get tested and more tests become available.
And hospital officials are worried about potential shortages of supplies like ventilators, beds and protective equipment for doctors, nurses and other health care workers.
Pedati said not everyone needs to be tested because most individuals who become infected with COVID-19 will experience only mild flu- or cold-like symptoms. Pedati said those with mild symptoms will be given the same instructions as anyone else: to stay home, rest and stay away from other people.
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