Governor Kim Reynolds.

Iowa businesses ordered by the governor to close in March may soon learn if or when they may reopen in May.

“Might have some news tomorrow, but we’re still working on that,” Governor Kim Reynolds said late this morning during her daily news conference.

Reynolds described what she called “areas of opportunity” in the state as 51 of Iowa’s 99 counties have zero to four confirmed cases of COVID-19. However, Reynolds said increased testing is needed to identify hot spots and deploy an as yet-to-be-announced number of state workers and Iowa National Guard soldiers to do contact tracing of people confirmed COVID-19 patients have interacted with.

“We must get Iowa back to work sooner rather than later,” Reynolds said this morning, “and the more we continue to learn about the virus in Iowa, the better we’ll be able to balance the health of our people and our economy.”

The governor warned that despite whatever she may announce as soon as tomorrow, life might not return to what we considered normal.

“Might be a little bit of a new normal for a while, but that’s okay,” Reynolds said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us all a few things about ourself and maybe one of the greatest lessons has been a reminder of what really matters and for myself, there are a few things I can’t wait to get back to — hugging my grandchildren would be one of them and getting together with family — but there’s also a lot of things we’re going to have to do differently going forward.”

Reynolds said vulnerable Iowans with underlying health conditions should continue to stay home as much as possible even if her closure orders are eased.

Reynolds today announced 176 additional cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Iowa and 29 percent of all the Iowans who’ve tested positive so far are employed in packing plants or manufacturing. Ten percent of Iowa’s total of 3924 COVID cases are either staff or residents of long-term care facilities. Another 16 percent work in hospitals or other health care settings.