Governor Kim Reynolds is launching a second public relations campaign to encourage Iowans to double-down on pandemic precautions, so Main Street businesses can stay open, hospitals don’t get overrun with Covid patients and kids can stay in school.
“I need every Iowan doing their part to be part of the solution,” Reynolds said late this morning, “so I’m going to do my part to ensure that Iowa gets the message.”
Reynolds launched a “mask up” public awareness campaign in July. This new effort will include messages on Iowa radio stations and in local newspapers. The number of Covid patients in Iowa hospitals has doubled in the past month.
“We all know that this trend cannot continue,” Reynolds said.
On Wednesday evening, there were 839 Covid patients in Iowa hospitals. It’s the 11th day in a row of escalation.
“As the news reports every single day: ‘Record cases…Record hospitalizations in every state across this country,’ what is honestly happening is people are just experiencing pandemic fatigue,” Reynolds said. “They are wearing down and wearing out and they want to get their lives back to normal and so I am going to double-down and I am asking them to double-down.”
Reynolds told reporters “government solutions alone cannot stop the virus,” so it’s up to “every Iowan” to take additional precautions. She’s asking Iowans to consider whether indoor gatherings are worth the risk and how they can safely celebrate the upcoming holidays.
“I understand that many people are tired of living differently because of Covid-19, but in the big picture these are really small sacrifices and they will help us manage the virus while living life, but I need your help to make that happen,” Reynolds said. “For the next three weeks, at least, I am asking Iowans to make every effort to help us stop the spread of Covid-19.”
Governor Reynolds invited Dr. Dave Williams, the chief clinical officer at UnityPoint Health in Des Moines, to speak at today’s news conference in her statehouse office.
“My job is to tell you it’s time. We have to start listening,” he said. “The illness burden in our community and in our country is too high…and it’s time that we really buckle down and start to do something about it.”
According to the state’s coronavirus tracking website, 4562 new Covid cases were confirmed by test results reported to the state in the past 24 hours, a significant spike from the previous 24-hour record set November 1. Dr. Hijinio Carreon, the chief medical officer at Mercy One in Des Moines, told reporters Iowa hospitals have contingency plans if additional capacity is needed.
“While we are experiencing significant surges in Covid-19 amidst this pandemic, it’s not something new,” he said. “Unfortunately, it is more severe and more critical than it was in the onset.”
Dr. Carreon said hospitals are more prepared than they were this spring to manage the volume of Covid patients and the most critically ill patients.
(This post was updated at 1:12 pm with additional information)