Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds discusses the state’s response to COVID-19 during a press conference at the State Emergency Operations Center, on Monday, May 18, 2020, in Johnston, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, pool)
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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – Gov. Kim Reynolds, during her daily press conference on Monday, highlighted that over 100,000 Iowans had been tested for COVID-19. 

Iowa reached that testing milestone over the weekend. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) on Monday reports a total of 103,148 Iowans were tested for COVID-19 for a per capita rate of one in every 31 Iowans. 

Reynolds pointed out that this number does not include duplications. She also noted that 7,324 Iowans recovered from COVID-19 for a recovery rate of 49 percent among those who tested positive. She also reiterated that hospitalizations remained stable. 

“It’s been 18 days since we reported Iowa’s highest positive cases and days to double is now at 21 days. We continue to trend in the right direction, further validating that the time is right to move into the recovery phase and began reopening Iowa,” Reynolds said.

Last weekend was the first weekend under eased restrictions that gave many businesses, including restaurants and fitness centers, the opportunity to open statewide. 

“Over the weekend, some Iowans went out to eat at a local restaurant, worked out at their gym, or finally got a haircut. Others chose to remain home and wait a little longer before venturing out in this way. And some businesses decided to take additional time before reopening to ensure they and their staff are prepared to implement preventative measures designed to protect themselves and their customers. Regardless of whether you’re ready to resume some of your normal activities are choosing to wait, we respect that decision. Only you know what’s best for you and your family,” Reynolds said.

“The decision to ease restrictions that allow some best businesses to reopen at limited capacity is not a mandate to do so. Nor is it a requirement that Iowans dine out, shop, or do anything they’re not ready to do. I’ve asked everyone to exercise personal responsibility from the very beginning,” she added.

Reynolds pointed out that the state is balancing two priorities – public health and Iowa’s economy – in her decision to start reopening. 

“Since COVID-19, was confirmed in Iowa, we’re at a point where we can start where we can a must strike a balance between managing virus activity for the long term and getting our economy up and running. Again, it’s not a matter of prioritizing one or the one over the other. It’s about prioritizing both. The long term consequences of keeping businesses closed are far-reaching and could have an even greater impact on Iowans than the virus itself,” she said. 

Reynolds said this is why the state implemented an aggressive testing strategy that allows IDPH to monitor virus activity across the state and “deploy targeted strategies down to the zip code” to contain and manage COVID-19 spread. 

The state is also tracking instances of the Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19. This illness presents with a fever and signs of inflammation throughout a child’s body. MIS-C cases are seen in some children who tested positive for a current or recent infection of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, or in children linked to someone infected with COVID-19. 

Dr. Caitlin Pedati, the state epidemiologist and medical director with IDPH, confirmed that there are two cases of MIS-C in eastern Iowa. She said MIS-C is similar to Kawasaki Disease, in that it is a post-infectious inflammation that occurs several weeks after a likely infection. Still, they believe it is a new condition distinct from Kawasaki Disease. 

She said they need to learn more and that IDPH made MIS-C a mandatory reportable condition.

IDPH reports a total of 14,955 positive cases of COVID-19 in 97 counties (one in 210 Iowans). There were 231 positive cases reported on Friday, 288, on Saturday, and 245 on Sunday. 

To date, 355 Iowans have died from COVID-19, with 19 Iowans passing away since Thursday.

There are 382 Iowans currently hospitalized with COVID-19, with 181 patients in ICU, and 85 on ventilators. Forty-seven patients are new admissions. 

There are currently 3,810 inpatient beds, 483 ICU beds, and 732 ventilators available statewide. 

Watch the full press conference below:

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