CORONAVIRUS

Hinson calls for more coronavirus testing, no national lockdown

Ashley Hinson speaks with journalists after her win in Iowa's 1st Congressional District race at her Cedar Rapids campai
Ashley Hinson speaks with journalists after her win in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District race at her Cedar Rapids campaign office on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. Hinson defeated one-term incumbent Democrat Abby Finkenauer. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Congresswoman-elect Ashley Hinson, who is isolating at home because she tested positive for COVID-19, does not support a lockdown at this time, but is calling for increased testing and for Iowans to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on social distancing and mask wearing.

Other than initial fatigue symptoms, Hinson is feeling well, the Marion Republican told reporters during a call Friday morning. Because of the positive test, she is participating virtually in freshman orientation for incoming members of Congress rather than travel to Washington, D.C., for those sessions.

Hinson, a former television reporter and anchor and a two-term Iowa House member, defeated Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer in the Nov. 3 election and will take office in January.

Asked about a recommendation from Michael Osterholm — an Iowa native, an infectious-disease expert and member of President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus task force — for a four- to six-week national lockdown, Hinson said she wouldn’t support that.

“I think at this point we need to do whatever we can to increase testing” so people who test positive get treatment and stay home, Hinson said.

She agrees with Gov. Kim Reynolds’ efforts to make more tests available and to call for Iowans to wear masks when in public. “That was what we tried to do about what six months ago now when we really tried to slow the spread.”

Rather than a lockdown, she called for businesses to follow CDC guidelines on social distancing, hand washing and regular cleanings.

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“And if you can’t socially distance, I believe people should wear a mask,” Hinson added.

Iowans also need to be sensitive to the fact that health care providers are susceptible to this virus as well as burnout associated with increased workloads, Hinson said.

Hinson thanked Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer, whom she defeated, for working with her on a smooth transition, especially the casework related to COVID-19 and the derecho.

“A lot of folks are in need of help. Both our teams want to make sure that there isn’t a drop-off in service,” she said.

Maintaining constituent services will be a consideration as she hires staff in both Iowa and Washington, Hinson said.

“I want to make sure I have some Iowans working in my office, but I also want to make sure that I have people who are the experts in their policy areas who have good relationships on the Hill and can help me be effective ... to make sure that we will still have a strong voice in the Iowa delegation,” she said.

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

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