CORONAVIRUS

Rep. Finkenauer calls on Gov. Reynolds to issue stay-at-home order

Representing Iowa's 1st district Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer speaks during a Town Hall style meeting with constituents
Representing Iowa’s 1st district Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer speaks during a Town Hall style meeting with constituents on Saturday, April 27, 2019 at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids. (Ben Roberts/Freelance)

CEDAR RAPIDS — An Iowa congresswoman is calling on Gov. Kim Reynolds to issue a statewide stay-at-home order as a precaution to protect Iowans and essential workers.

After consulting with medical professionals, “especially those in the Dubuque area where we saw the first tragic passing of a coronavirus patient,” 1st District United States Rep. Abby Finkenauer asked Reynolds to issue a statewide shelter-in-place order. Since then, two more Iowa death have been attributed to COVID-19 and there have been 235 confirmed positive cases.

Reynolds has repeatedly said such an order is not out of the question, but not yet necessary. She and state public health officials are in daily communication with community officials “to talk them through why we do not think it is necessary to issue a shelter-in-place at this point.”

Reynolds has cited advice from the Iowa Department of Public health that “sheltering in place for two or three weeks will not cause the coronavirus to go away.”

Finkenauer, who was in Washington Friday morning for the House vote on a $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid package, said she released the letter publicly because despite their conversations this week, the governor hasn’t taken her advice and because two more people in the northeast Iowa 1st District have died as a result of COVID-19.

“I could not sit back and not say something publicly,” Finkenauer said on a call with reporters.

Finkenauer believes that it is past time for the governor to recommend Iowans shelter-in-place.

Reynolds spokesman Pat Garret said the governor will continue to make decisions based on data and metrics from Iowa public health officials as well as input from the president’s coronavirus task force and other governors.

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Reynolds also would be happy to arrange a meeting for Finkenauer to hear directly from her public health advisers, he said.

Finkenauer also referred to a letter to Reynolds from 128 Iowa physicians and advanced practice providers saying they believe it is time for s shelter-in-place order “ahead of more cases of COVID-19 that will certainly arise in the coming days and weeks.”

Finkenauer also warned about the potential harmful effects if s stay-at-home order is not issued. Such an order would protect our health care providers as well as people who work in food processing.

“From our farmers in the field to food processors on the factory line to those stocking the shelves at our local grocery stores, Americans — both urban and rural — are connected to our state’s food system,” she wrote. “If we fail to control the spread of coronavirus and cases in Iowa continue to multiply, I am concerned not only about the long-term effects on our local economies but also the immediate impact on food and agriculture production.”

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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