Sen. Janet Peterson

Iowa is among the five states which do not have some sort of a shelter-in-place or stay-at-home order within its borders.

The top two Democrats in the legislature are urging Republican Governor Kim Reynolds to join change that. Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen of Des Moines and House Democratic Leader Todd Prichard of Charles City say issuing a statewide shelter-in-place order would send “a clearer message about the serious nature of this pandemic.”

They say the current patchwork of recommendations is confusing and there’s growing frustration about the lack of information on Iowa’s plans and capabilities for combatting COVID-19. The two Democratic lawmakers say data provided by private researchers shows Iowans are taking some steps to flatten the curve of COVID cases, but the dramatic increases in case numbers show it’s not enough.

The other states which do not have shelter-in-place orders are North and South Dakota, Nebraska and Arkansas. There are eight other states where orders are in place in cities or regions. Earlier this week, Governor Reynolds said she can’t lock the state down because it would disrupt the supply chain and impact essential workers.

The two Democratic lawmakers say other governors have exempted critical occupations in their shelter-in-place orders. Senator Pedersen and Representative Prichard also called on the governor to release more information about the state’s efforts. Yesterday, Reynolds was asked if she will release the data she’s using to make COVID-19 decisions.

“We’re looking at the percent of the population greater than 65. We’re looking at the percentage of identified cases requiring hospitalization,” Reynolds said in reply. “We’re looking at the rate per 100,000 impacted in the past 14 days. We’re looking at the number of long-term care outbreaks, so those are some of the metrics that we’re looking at, but there are other assumptions going into it as well.”

Reynolds did not say whether she would release any of that data to the public.

Iowa Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer, a Democrat from Dubuque; Congresswoman Cindy Axne, a Democrat from West Des Moines; and Congressman Dave Loebsack, a Democrat from Iowa City have all called on the governor to issue a stay-at-home order.

Here’s the letter: COVID-19 Letter to Governor PDF