Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds holds a press conference at the State Capitol on Wednesday, June 10, 2020 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Brian Powers/The Des Moines Register)

DES MOINES, Iowa – Gov. Kim Reynolds provided an update on COVID-19 during her weekly press conference at All Cultures Equal in Webster City.

“The majority of the cases are still largely concentrated in ten counties and among younger adults,” Reynolds said. “We are testing significantly more now than we were two to three months ago.”

Last week, the Test Iowa Initiative surpassed 100,000 tests. At the time of publication, one in eight Iowans have received a test for a total of 381,612 tests that include Test Iowa tests and tests conducted elsewhere. 

Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) reports a total of 35,850 Iowans have tested positive for COVID-19. The overall positivity rate among tests is 9.4 percent. With more testing, the daily positivity rate remains low, hovering between six and nine percent each day since late May. Reynolds also pointed out the days to double stands at 53. 

“As the numbers continue as the number of Iowans tested continues to increase, we will see higher numbers of positive cases. But the positivity rate is an important part of the story, and so is the number of total negative cases,” Reynolds said.

Adults, ages 18 to 40, make up 48 percent of Iowa’s total positive cases. Middle-aged adults aged 41 to 60 make up 30 percent of the total cases with older adults (age 61-80) and the elderly (81+), making up 12 percent and four percent of the cases. 

On Monday, the 14-day rolling total was 5,910, still below the peak of 7,277 seen on May 6, 2020.

Since the outbreak began, 757 Iowans have died from COVID-19. Even as cases have gone up since late June, deaths have not kept pace. This is likely due to the majority of the new cases being among younger adults. While Iowans age 61 and older only make up 16 percent of the total recorded cases, they make up 87 percent of the deaths. Only three percent of the deaths were among adults under the age of 40.

Hospitalizations have gone up slightly, but not at the same rate as new cases. Currently, Iowa has 186 COVID-19 patients statewide with 67 in ICU and 32 on ventilators. 

Reynolds said since they know where the highest number of cases are occurring, her administration is considering whether targeted mitigation efforts are necessary to slow the spread. 

She noted the average age of Iowans testing positive for COVID-19 is 21 to 22 years old. 

Correction: The governor misspoke about the average age. The average state median age according to IDPH has come down from 63-years-old in March to 39-years-old this week. IDPH says at the end of June, the median age of new cases in Johnson and Linn Counties was 21 years old, in Dallas and Story Counties 22 years old, in Black Hawk County 23 years old, and in Scott County 24 years old.

“They’ve been pent up for several months, as we start to open up the economy, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that we’re going to see maybe a little bit of an uptake and uptick in positive cases. We’re also able to drill down with some of the data and it does correlate somewhat with opening and expanding bars,” Reynolds said.

She added that protests and people being outside in close proximity were also factors as not everybody wears a mask.

“So maybe we go back to 50 percent capacity in bars, I don’t know. But the thing with the data that we have and the ability to drill down and really do that case investigation is it gives the epidemiologist team the information they need to make those recommendations to me. So we’re looking at different responses. And I think the most important thing is we can be very targeted in those responses. You will not see me shut down the entire state,” Reynolds added.

Listen to her press conference below:

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