Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds holds a news conference on COVID-19 at the State Emergency Operations Center on Wednesday, April 15, 2020, in Johnston, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Brian Powers/The Des Moines Register)
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DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported ten additional COVID-19 related deaths on Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing the total number of deaths in the state to 53.

The latest deaths were one older adult (61-80 years) from Allamakee County, one elderly adult (81+) from Clayton County, one older adult and one middle-aged (41-60 years) adult from Linn County, one older adult from Johnson County, one adult (18-40 years) and one elderly adult from Polk County, one older adult from Pottawattamie County, one elderly adult from Scott County, and one elderly adult from Tama County.

“All deaths in Iowa are among older elderly, elderly individuals and those with underlying health conditions, again, underscoring the importance of doing our part to protect our most vulnerable population,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said during a press conference on Wednesday morning at the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston.

IDPH also reported 285 additional cases over the last 48 hours, with 189 cases reported on Tuesday and 96 reported on Wednesday for a total of 1,995 cases in the state. Over the same period, 888 negative tests were conducted for a total of 17,874 negative tests to date.

Currently, there are 171 Iowans hospitalized with COVID-19, and 908 have recovered.

Of the Iowans hospitalized, 78 are in ICU, and 43 are on ventilators. The state currently has 7,930 inpatient beds, 533 ICU beds, and 718 ventilators available.

The Tyson Foods plant in Columbus Junction, Iowa, is experiencing an outbreak. Of the reported cases on Tuesday, 86 were Tyson Foods plant employees.

IDPH also reports outbreaks in four additional long-term care facilities. Bartels Lutheran Retirement in Bremer County reports four cases of COVID-19 among its residents and staff. Trinity Center at Luthern Park and On With Life in Polk County report six and 22 cases. The Wilton Retirement Community in Muscatine County reports six cases.

Cases connected to Iowa’s now seven outbreaks in long-term care facilities make up over ten percent of Iowa’s total cases and 49 percent of the deaths associated with COVID-19.

Reynolds said that the state is sending additional testing supplies to the new long-term care facilities experiencing outbreaks and Tyson Foods.

She noted that IDPH sent guidance to businesses across the state, asking them to inform the department if ten percent of their workforce becomes ill.

Speaking of Tyson Foods, Reynolds said that they know they are essential and have to take measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

“This is essential infrastructure. This is about feeding not only Iowans but the world, and so they know that they have a responsibility to take care of their employees. They, for the most part, are trying to be proactive and providing the right kind of protective gear to doing assessments on the front end to doing temperature scans,” she stated.

“The Department of Public Health also has been in constant contact with a lot of these facilities to walk through what they are doing, what additional things that they need, and how we can be proactive and getting in front of it,” Reynolds added.

Listen to Wednesday’s press conference.

Listen to Tuesday’s press conference.

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