President Trump says he’d like the country to get back to normal by Easter. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds today said she is not prepared to name a target date.
“The decisions are so fluid,” Reynolds said earlier this afternoon during her daily news conference. “What I say sometimes at a press conference after we receive new data, I have to stand in front of Iowans the next day and I’ve made a different decision.”
The governor indicated the criteria she used to order the closure of businesses like bars, restaurants and hair salons will be the same criteria she uses to lift those restrictions.
“I want to get business back to normal as quickly as I can, too,” Reynolds said. “I think we have that shared goal. I just want to make sure that I’m protecting Iowans and I’m making decisions on the right data points.”
Even if things return to normal in the late spring and summer, Reynolds warned there may be another surge in COVID cases later in the fall and next winter.
“Chances are even though we flatten the curve and we work out of it and we bring industry back on, there’s the potential until we get a vaccine that it’s going to tick back up at some point,” Reynolds said, “so we have to take that into consideration.”
There was a 60% increase in the number of Iowans hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19 from Sunday night to Monday night, although Reynolds said Iowa’s tally of 18 hospitalized patients is still low when compared to other states.
“We want to get things back to normal as quickly as we can and that’s why we’ve taken the various steps that we’ve taken,” Reynolds said, “because all along, by implementing the policies and procedures that we’ve put in place, we’ve done that as a means to ‘bend the curve’ and hopefully prevent overwhelming our hospitals and our public health workers.”
Some mayors in Johnson County have called on the governor to issue a “shelter in place” order, but Reynolds said the criteria established by the Iowa Department of Public Health does not suggest that step is necessary at this time. The department is tracking infection rates and whether there are outbreaks among vulnerable groups — like residents in a nursing home.