DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Kim Reynolds said Thursday that Iowa is recovering strongly from the coronavirus pandemic and that its economy is set to grow, even as some counties reported spikes in infections and the state said hundreds of people test positive most days.
Reynolds said the trend is toward fewer positive cases, and that the rate of Iowans testing positive has fallen from a high of 30% in mid-April to 10.3% on Wednesday. She said hospitalizations are also down from a high reached in May, and that 21 of the long-term care centers that had reported outbreaks have had no new cases for 28 days and will come off an outbreak list.
“Although COVID-19 as a public health concern is not over and we continue to manage it every day, we’re well into the recovery phase,” she said.
Reynolds named several business executives to a recovery advisory board that she said will help chart a course for an economic comeback. The CEO of Ruan Transportation, Ben McLean, will chair the board, which also includes executives from companies including John Deere, MidAmerican Energy and Principal Financial Group.
Some rural counties have reported increases in cases, and when Reynolds was asked if that's a sign the state isn't staying ahead of new spikes, she said the state responds to increases with testing to help identify where outbreaks occur and initiate control measures.
When asked about spikes in new cases in Texas and Florida, where businesses have reopened as in Iowa, she said increased testing is part of the reason higher case numbers are surfacing.
She repeated that people need to take personal responsibility and wear a mask or keep distant from others in public places.
“I think its important to remember that we never guaranteed that anybody would not get COVID-19, but our goal was to really identify those most vulnerable and make sure we were doing everything to protect them,” she said.
Iowa had 24,738 positive cases as of Thursday afternoon and 678 deaths. That's about 500 additional cases since Wednesday and eight new deaths.
Reynolds will discontinue the more frequent schedule of press conferences she began in March when community-spread of the virus became apparent. She plans to return to holding a weekly press conference next week, she said.