DES MOINES, Iowa – Gov. Kim Reynolds said, looking at regional data, she is “somewhat optimistic” as Iowa heads toward its anticipated peak of April 30 for COVID-19 cases.
“So we really are able to track on a daily basis, the number of beds, number of beds being utilized, number of ventilators that we have, and we can put that into the projections as we look at the peak. We are always preparing for the worst, but I am somewhat optimistic,” she said during a press conference at the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston on Wednesday morning.
“We still haven’t peaked yet, we’re anticipating that at the end of this month, but again, can only 10 percent are hospitalized right now. So that’s a fairly good number. And I think the number that gives us a lot of hope is that 38 percent of all positive cases have recovered. And so what we have seen over the last seven to nine days, is our positive cases have been pretty stagnant. So they’ve stayed pretty much the same over the seven to nine days,” Reynolds added.
Sarah Reisetter, deputy director with the Iowa Department of Public Health, said that the personal protective equipment shortage “is real.” She was optimistic about other health care resources.
“I think we feel pretty good from a resource standpoint in terms of beds and ventilators at that particular point in time based on what we’re seeing. But again, critical to all of this, it really is important for all Iowans to continue to stay home. Leave only for essentials. That’s the way that we’re going to slow the spread of the virus in our state and make sure that our hospitals and our health systems have the capacity to deal with patients who do become more seriously ill,” she said.
Reynolds provided specific information about inpatient beds, ICU beds, and ventilators in north-central and south-central Iowa.
Region 1, which is south-central Iowa, including Des Moines, as of April 7, 2020, has 33 patients hospitalized with none admitted in the previous 24 hours. There are 11 patients in ICU with six on ventilators. The region has 1,433 beds, 179 ICU beds, and 221 ventilators available.
Region 2, which is north-central Iowa, as of April 7, 2020, has two patients hospitalized with none admitted in the previous 24 hours. There is one patient in ICU who is also on a ventilator. The region has 231 inpatient beds, 11 ICU beds, and 26 ventilators available.
Reynolds pointed out that the counties in north-central Iowa have smaller facilities. If they encounter a shortage, the state is ready to provide what they need or transport patients to another facility if they need a higher level of care.
Reynolds earlier in the press conference also noted that as cases decline, the state can “dial-up” further economic support. She announced that the Iowa Economic Development Authority received nearly 14,000 applications for the Small Business Relief Fund, requesting almost $148 million in eligible assistance. She said the first round of funding would assist more than 500 restaurants, bars, and breweries that have been impacted by COVID-19.
She said the businesses chosen were among the first to close as a result of her public health emergency declaration.
Reynolds also announced she was expanding the program from the original $4 million to $24 million using funds authorized by the state legislature. The Iowa Economic Development Authority will not open the program up for additional applications but will continue to fund businesses that have applied already. Grants ranged from $5000 to $25,000.