Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds gives a press conference at the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston, Iowa, on Thursday, April 23, 2020. (Photo Credit: Charlie Niebergall/Associated Press)

DES MOINES, Iowa – On Thursday, Gov. Kim Reynolds, during her press conference at the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston, Iowa, offered a “different perspective” on the daily COVID-19 numbers.

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported 176 positive cases of COVID-19 totaling 3,942 cases in 84 counties. IDPH reported 842 negative tests making 25,388 negative tests conducted out of 29,262 Iowans tested.

Reynolds pointed out that the COVID-19 cases were concentrated. 

“As of yesterday, 11 of Iowa’s 99 counties accounted for 81 percent of all COVID-19 cases. Five counties alone had 52 percent of the state’s positives and 51 counties had zero to four cases each,” she said.

Reynolds also pointed out that Iowa has a lower rate of positive tests among those who are tested compared to the national rate – 13 percent compared to 18.4 percent reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

She added that 77 percent of all COVID-19 cases are among adults aged 18-40 and middle-age adults (41-60). Older adults (61-80) and elderly adults (81+) make up 22 percent of the cases. Iowans under the age of 18 account for only one percent of the cases.

So far, 1492 Iowans have recovered for a recovery rate of 38 percent among those who have tested positive. 

IDPH confirmed one additional long-term care (LTC) facility outbreak, Manor Care Services in Linn County that reported seven cases. There are 12 LTC facility outbreaks in the state.

Reynolds said of the LTC facility residents with COVID-19 today 65 have recovered, 84 remain ill, and 24 are hospitalized. 

IDPH reports six additional deaths with one elderly adult in Bremer County, one elderly adult in Muscatine County, and one middle-age and three elderly adults in Polk County passing away. To date, 96 Iowans have died due to COVID-19. 

Reynolds noted that 85 percent of the deaths are of older and elderly adults, and 51 percent of the deaths were LTC facility residents. She added 12 percent of the deaths are middle-age adults, and two percent of the deaths are adults between the ages of 18 and 40.

The Regional Medical Coordination Centers run by the Iowa National Guard report that there are 282 Iowans hospitalized, and 33 of those were admitted in the previous 24 hours, less than half of new admits reported on Wednesday. They also say there are 102 COVID-19 patients in ICU and 55 on are ventilators.

Statewide there are 3,994 inpatient beds, 549 ICU beds, and 689 ventilators available.

“Since Iowa’s first COVID-19 cases were confirmed, the Department of Public Health has been collecting data through diagnostic testing and contact tracing that allows us to better understand the virus and its impact on Iowans across the state, and to help us mitigate it,” Reynolds said.

“And now, with increased capabilities, we’ll be able to target areas of concern early with the intent again of minimizing the impact of the virus among vulnerable populations and essential workforce. And the data also helps us identify areas of opportunity, just as we use data to drive decisions when we close schools and businesses to target our efforts on slowing the virus. We’ll also use it to reopen the state in a measured and responsible way,” she added.

Reynolds pointed to the necessity of opening up Iowa’s economy.

“We must get it back to work sooner rather than later. 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,” she stated.

Pointing to the Test Iowa Initiative, Reynolds noted over 121,000 Iowans completed the assessment and said that testing appointments for the “soft launch” of the drive-thru testing initiative are full this weekend.

“This overwhelming response tells that tells me that Iowans are ready to take the next step to move our state forward and be part of the solution as they go along,” she said.

The Iowa Test Initiative adds 3,000 tests daily to the State Hygenic Lab’s current capacity. 

Reynolds also added she might have news regarding what happens after April 30, when her public health emergency declaration expires, as early as Friday.

Listen to the full press conference below:

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