Governor Kim Reynolds may issue restrictions related to the COVID-19 outbreak that are local and not statewide.
“We are able to look at the metrics based on communities, based on counties, based on regions,” Reynolds said today during her daily COVID-19 briefing.
Reynolds, so far, has issued proclamations during the pandemic that are statewide in scope and has advised city and county officials that they do not have authority to issue local “stay at home” orders. Hot spots of the virus seem to be developing in the state. By mid-day Wednesday, 37% of the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Iowa were in Linn, Johnson and Washington Counties.
“There are different variations of the impact across the state,” Reynolds said. “…We’re going to try to identify where some of the hotspots are…see if there are additional directives that we need to put in place that would help mitigate what we are starting to see there.”
Reynolds has repeatedly referred to the “metrics” she and her administrators are reviewing to decide if more restrictions are necessary. Reynolds told reporters she’ll use the same data to decide when businesses she’s ordered to close may reopen.
“That might happen in different pockets of the state as well,” Reynolds said.
Researchers at the University of Washington have projected more than 1,367 Iowans could die of COVID-19 by August. Reynolds told reporters that calculation didn’t take into account actions in Iowa aimed at stopping the illness from spreading.
“‘For instance, we’ve closed schools. The colleges and universities have shut down,” Reynolds said. “We’ve shut down some non-essential businesses. We’ve reduced social gatherings to less than 10. We’re practicing social distancing.”
University of Washington researchers considered “stay at home” measures as a key in reducing fatalities. Reynolds indicated the state epidemiologist is working with University of Iowa experts to come up with a fatality estimate for the state.
So far, state officials have linked the deaths of nine Iowans to COVID-19. A total of 549 Iowans have been confirmed, through limited testing, to have the virus. Public health investigators are checking in with each patient and state officials say 118 of the Iowans who tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered.