Gov. Kim Reynolds announced 482 new cases of COVID-19 in Iowa at a press conference on April 21. This brings the total number of cases to 3,641. Reynolds also announced a new partnership and online health assessment to increase testing by up to 3,000 additional tests per day.
Four additional deaths were reported, all related to long-term care facilities, for a total of 83 deaths from COVID-19 in Iowa. Ten percent of all positive cases and 51 percent of deaths are related to long-term care facilities in the state.
Of today’s 482 new cases, 33 percent are results from surveillance testing at meat processing facilities across Iowa. Two new counties have reported cases, Cherokee and Humboldt, for a total of 82 counties. Reynolds also reported 1,313 negative tests, bringing the total to 23,974.
Across the state, 27,615 Iowans have been tested, for a per capita of one out of 113 Iowans.
Thirty-five percent, or 1,293 Iowans, have recovered from COVID-19.
Reynolds said according to the Regional Medical Coordination Center, 214 COVID-19 patients have been hospitalized with 23 in the last 24 hours. A number of 89 patients are in intensive care units (ICU) and 60 are on ventilators. there are 4,200 inpatient beds, 553 ICU beds and 696 ventilators available for patient care.
Reynolds said the amount of resources available for testing has increased in recent weeks, but they’re still not at the level needed to further expand testing criteria and open testing to more Iowans.
To alleviate this, Reynolds announced Test Iowa at the press conference, a public-private partnership between the state of Iowa and Utah-based organizations Nomi Health and Silicon Slopes. This will make 540,000 COVID-19 tests available to increase the state’s testing capacity by up to 3,000 additional tests per day.
“As Iowa and the nation prepare to reopen, the ability to conduct large-scale assessments and testing is critical to understanding how prevalent the disease is and how it’s evolving,” Reynolds said. “The amount of data available will help us start to control the virus while making evidence-based decisions about how to ease the restrictions that have impacted our daily lives and begin to open up our businesses in a safe and responsible manner.”
This initiative includes an online health assessment to determine if individuals should be tested and drive-through testing locations that will return results within 48 to 72 hours of testing.
Reynolds said this assessment is a simple three step process. First, Iowans must go to testiowa.com to complete a brief assessment that captures information about symptoms or underlying conditions, where you live and your occupation. The assessment takes only a minute. This helps assess eligibility and will help the state identify hotspots across Iowa.
The next step is to get tested. Reynolds said Iowa’s first testing location will open April 25 at the Iowa Events Center north parking lot in downtown Des Moines. More sites will open in other locations across the state as soon as next week. A site will be opened at a long-term care facility in Tama County on April 22.
Finally, if you test positive, they will conduct contact tracing to determine who you’ve been in contact with to help identify any additional exposures.
Reynolds said she urges every Iowan, especially those who work in health care and other essential services, to take the assessment.
“The more Iowans who take the assessment or are tested, the more it will help us understand about the virus and the more we can do to mitigate and manage it so we can get life and our businesses back to normal as soon as possible,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds said this information will also help target Iowa’s response to the pandemic by identifying hot-spots or areas with minimal virus activity in the hopes to start opening the state as soon as possible.
“By taking the assessment and sharing the information you can help us zero in on potential outbreaks and new clusters so we can target our response and protect the health of others,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds assured that the information collected from this assessment is secured by Qualtrics and will only be used for the purpose of combating the virus until the pandemic subsides.