Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds updates the state’s response to COVID-19 outbreak during a press conference at the State Emergency Operations Center, Thursday, April 9, 2020, in Johnston, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

DES MOINES, Iowa – Gov. Kim Reynolds provided an update on how the different regions across the state are doing in terms of their capacity to care for COVID-19 patients who may require hospitalization.

The regions, based on where Iowans in particular counties typically go for medical care, are serviced by Regional Medical Coordination Centers (RMCC) established and operated by the Iowa National Guard in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Public Health and Iowa’s healthcare systems. 

Reynolds this week provided an update on each region. During her press conference at the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston highlighted northwest Iowa and southwest Iowa and provided updated numbers in the eastern Iowa regions. 

Region 3, which is northwest Iowa, as of April 8, 2020, has one patient hospitalized with none admitted in the previous 24 hours. That patient is in ICU and on a ventilator. The region has 399 inpatient beds, 32 ICU beds, and 51 ventilators available.

Region 4, which is southwest Iowa, as of April 8, 2020, has four patients hospitalized with none admitted in the previous 24 hours. There are three patients in ICU and one who is also on a ventilator. The region has 262 inpatient beds, 39 ICU beds, and 58 ventilators available.

The two regions with the most cases – Region 5 (southeast Iowa) saw an increase in hospitalizations, and Region 6 (northeast Iowa) saw a slight decrease since Monday.

Region 5, as of April 8, 2020, has 32 patients hospitalized with seven admitted in the previous 24 hours. There are 14 patients in ICU, and 11 of those patients are also on a ventilator. The region has 702 inpatient beds, 93 ICU beds, and 167 ventilators available.

Region 6, as of April 8, 2020, has 48 patients hospitalized with four admitted in the previous 24 hours. There are 32 patients in ICU, and 17 of those patients are also on a ventilator. The region has 1,002 inpatient beds, 57 ICU beds, and 119 ventilators available.

“As we are seeing across all RMCC regions, Iowa’s capacity to care for COVID-19 patients and available resources are very good at this time,” Reynolds said.

“We are monitoring this information daily, and if a situation changes, we’re ready to respond. The RMCC model is in place so that we can function as one health care system across the state, working together to, again, manage our resources and provide the best possible care for Iowans in need,” she added.

Reynolds pointed out that personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies will continue to be an issue, and some orders from the national stockpile are delayed. She pointed out businesses and individual Iowans are stepping up to produced PPE. 

She highlighted Tara Carlson from Stratford, who bought a sewing machine and taught herself how to sew facemasks. She has made and donated 147 facemasks to local healthcare providers, thus far taking advantage of sleepless nights she experiences due to her pregnancy. 

“Her husband is a nurse practitioner, so she understands how important it is to protect our healthcare workforce,” Reynolds said.

“So if you can sew or facemask for your local healthcare and long term care facilities, that is one way that you can help those on the front lines during this pandemic,” she added.

The Iowa Department of Public Health provides guidance on making facemasks and highlights two different patterns that can be used.

Listen to the press conference.

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