DES MOINES, Ia. (WGEM) — During her daily COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced she was expanding upon Public Health Disaster Emergency Proclamation that is currently in place.
Reynolds said she would be extending and expanding retail business closures, suspending elective and nonessential medical and dental procedures and removing additional legal barriers to ensure a continued strong response to this disaster.
Reynolds said that all existing closures, including restaurants and bars, will be extended another week until April 7.
She is also ordering the closure of additional retail stores through April 7, including book stores, clothing and shoe stores, jewelry, luggage, cosmetics, perfume and beauty supply stores, florists, furniture, and home furnishing stores.
Reynolds added that effective at 5 p.m. Friday through the duration of this disaster, all nonessential or elective surgeries and procedures that can be delayed are suspended. These actions will help preserve Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the workforce.
Reynolds also announced to encourage the use of telehealth services to screen and treat individuals who may have the virus, health insurance companies shall reimburse health care providers for telehealth visits at the same rate as in-person visits.
She also ordered health care facilities, including nursing homes, to engage in enhanced staff health screenings.
Schools in Iowa are recommended to remain closed until April 13 as previously stated.
Reynolds said officials are continuing to monitor and assess situation daily with the schools.
Reynolds also provided an update on the number of COVID-19 cases in the state.
She reported the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has been notified of 34 additional positive cases of Iowans with COVID-19, for a total of 179 positive cases.
There have been a total of 2,975 negative tests to date, which includes testing reported by the State Hygienic Lab and other labs.
According to IDPH, the locations and age ranges of the 34 individuals include:
- Appanoose County, 1 elderly adult (81+)
- Black Hawk County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
- Cedar County, 1 middle-age (41-60 years), 1 older (61-80 years), 1 elderly (81+)
- Clayton County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
- Des Moines County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
- Jasper County, 1 elderly (81+)
- Johnson County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 4 middle-aged adults (41-60 years), 1 older (61-80 years)
- Linn County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 3 middle-aged adults (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
- Mahaska County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
- Monona County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
- Page County, 1 middle-aged adult (41-60 years)
- Polk County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 2 middle-aged (41-60 years), 1 older (61-80 years)
- Pottawattamie County, 1 middle-aged adult (41-60 years)
- Scott County, 1 elderly (81+), 3 middle-aged (41-60 years)
- Sioux County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
- Washington County, 2 older adults (61-80 years)
A status report of monitoring and testing of COVID19 in Iowa is provided by IDPH and can be found here. In addition, a public hotline has been established for Iowans with questions about COVID-19.
The line is available 24/7 by calling 2-1-1 or 1-800-244-7431. The state of Iowa has started sharing the number of negative tests conducted at outside labs, and is providing additional information on the conditions of those infected with COVID-19.