Gov. Kim Reynolds announced steps the state is taking to combat food insecurity amid the COVID-19 pandemic during her April 10 press conference.

Reynolds also announced a further 118 new COVID-19 cases in Iowa for a total of 1,388, and an additional two deaths in Linn County, for a total of 31 deaths across the state caused by the disease.

The governor said in her daily press conference 119 Iowans are currently hospitalized due to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus while 506 have recovered, for a 36% recovery rate.

Reynolds touched on the demand food banks are experiencing amid the pandemic-fueled economic and public health crisis.

“More than 354,000 Iowans are already facing food insecurity,” Reynolds said. “And now these families and others may be dealing with the recent loss of jobs, children out of school and trouble making ends meet. Iowa’s six Feeding America food banks and their 1200 community partners across the state provided 38 million meals to Iowans in need last year, and while the COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced, they remain even more committed to feeding Iowans in these trying times.”

The governor announced she had created a “Feeding Iowans Taskforce” to be led by Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, joined by individuals from the Iowa Food Bank, representatives from the Departments of Agriculture, Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Public Health, Human Services, Education, Aging, Volunteer Iowa and others from the governor’s office.

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Gov. Kim Reynolds delivering a speech at the 2020 Deterrence and Assurance Academic Alliance Workshop and Conference on March 11 in the Student Innovation Center.

“I’ve charged the taskforce with raising awareness of hunger-related issues, identifying potential gaps in the system, connecting resources to ensure Iowans have food on their tables and making sure that Iowans know where to go to get help,” Reynolds said. “If you’re in immediate need of food please go to your nearest food bank, food pantry or go to coronavirus.iowa.gov for food assistance information.”

Reynolds said the state is seeing some encouraging signs with regards to the disease.

"We are seeing our recovery rate increase and our curve begin to flatten which are early indicators that we are doing the right things," Reynolds said. "But our work is not yet done. As I have now for more than a month, I am asking Iowans to continue to do your part to slow the spread of the virus. Your efforts  they are making a difference. So please continue to stay home if you can, leave home only for essential errands, practice social distancing — we know it works, don't gather in groups of more than 10 and if you have a member of your family that is sick or you are sick — isolate at home."

If Iowans continue to follow these "simple steps seriously" Iowans will get through this sooner rather than later, Reynolds said.

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