Gov. Reynolds announces changes to how cases will be reported online
On Monday during her daily COVID-19 response update, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced several changes on how coronavirus case numbers and other data will be reported through the state's website in real-time instead of through daily announcements.
Reynolds began the briefing with the announcement more than 100,000 Iowans have been tested for COVID-19 as of Monday morning.
Per capita, one in 31 Iowans have been tested. 7,324 Iowans have recovered from the coronavirus for a recovery rate of 49 percent.
Hospitalization rates remain stable and it has been 18 days since the state reported its highest single-day total of new cases, she said.
"Several days ago we updated the
so Iowans could have access to more of the data we are collecting," Reynolds said. "Later this afternoon we'll be updating the dashboard with more data and features."
The biggest change to the site will be case numbers being updated in realtime, Reynolds explained. This will make daily case count announcements obsolete, she said.
"You'll see where the numbers stand whenever you decide to check the website," she said.
For example, overnight lab results could be reported as positive for the next day, as they were not filed before the cutoff time, Reynolds said. The cases would have to be moved back to the previous day as a correction afterward.
A trendline will also be added listing the number of tests and positive results sorted by county. Data from serology (blood) tests will also be added.
The longterm care dashboard will also include the number of cases, and other information provided on cases will include those who are asymptomatic and by race, gender, and ethnicity, among other categories.
A new call center is now operational for TestIowa at (515) 575-2131.
Dr. Caitlin Pedati, Iowa's public health director, joined the conference via phone to discuss multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a disease related to COVID-19 that is causing concerns among parents as it places children at higher risk.
"So far, children have made up a smaller portion of the reported COVID-19 cases," Pedati said. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control alerted healthcare providers about MIS.
Friday afternoon, the Iowa Department of Health received two potential reports of the syndrome -- both are children in eastern Iowa who are in stable condition.
The syndrome has been compared to a similar illness called Kawasaki disease which causes inflammation of blood vessels in the body and affects children five years of age and younger.
Pedati said they think the syndrome is a new and distinct condition from Kawasaki disease.
"We have made the disease a mandatory reportable condition in Iowa," Pedati said. "In the meantime, we want to remind children and families to continue to do the good things they are already doing, like handwashing and social distancing."
Reynolds was asked what the state budget numbers are looking like considering the massive impact the pandemic has had on state and local economies. She said the state is working on producing those numbers as more information is being gathered, and stressed the importance of opening the state up for business responsibly.
Because of deferred tax payments, Reynolds said they will have a better idea of the numbers by the end of May.
Another question concerned the state's peak number of cases -- has it already happened or is it still in the future while health guidelines and restrictions are being loosened.
"It's not like we ripped off the bandage, we've been working on slowly reintegrating," she said. "We ask that businesses and Iowans practice social distancing."
One of the state health measures set to end this month requires landlords not to evict tenants who are unable to pay rent while the state sees a surge in unemployment. Reynolds was asked if that measure will be extended or if they predict a wave of evictions when it expires.
"We are working with the Iowa Economic Development Authority about putting in place some optional grants that would apply for apartment owners. We're looking at different scenarios about that. We haven't made a decision yet but we are looking at all the options," she said.
With Memorial Day approaching, Reynolds was asked if the state is predicting a spike in cases as Iowans celebrate together. She said she hopes Iowans continue to practice social distancing and other health guidelines and was not sure if playgrounds, for example, would be open by Memorial Day as more data is being collected.
Regarding remdesivir, the antiviral medication that gained international attention as a COVID-19 treatment, Pedati said they are working with healthcare providers to collect information on how treatments are progressing for those who receive the medication.