The top two Democrats in the Iowa legislature are urging Republican Governor Kim Reynolds to order more frequent updates to Covid-related data on the Iowa Department of Public Health’s website.
The agency had been updating data several times a day, but in July switched to weekly updates on positive Covid test results and Covid patient loads in Iowa hospitals. House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst of Windsor Heights said that makes it harder for parents to make good decisions about sending their kids back to school.
“It makes it very difficult for Iowans to do exactly what she says she expects us to, which is do the right thing. We can’t do it when we don’t have good information,” Konfrst said during an online news conference. “…As case numbers are increasing and data release is shrinking, it really does send a message that the governor really doesn’t want us to know what is happening with Covid in the state of Iowa.”
A spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Public Health issued a written statement. “At this time, when numbers do not change at the same frequency as in the past, a weekly feed provides an appropriate level of awareness,” Sarah Ekstrand said.
Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls of Coralville said more timely public information would help Iowans understand the challenges Covid-19 may present.
“We all know that especially during a pandemic when we are seeing misinformation and disinformation, having open and honest and responsive communication is absolutely imperative,” Wahls said.
The public health department’s spokeswoman said the agency “will continue to assess its response to ensure Iowans are equipped with information at a level that is appropriate.”