With nearly 5,500 COVID-19 cases and 118 deaths, Gov. Reynolds is focused on ‘getting life and business back to normal’

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IDPH map of COVID-19 cases by county, April 26, 2020.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported on Sunday another 383 Iowans have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the state’s total number of confirmed cases to 5,475. Eight residents of Johnson County and 25 residents of Linn County are among the newly reported cases.

IDPH also reported six more deaths from the virus, bringing the state’s total to 118. The deceased include two residents of Johnson County and one resident of Linn County.

Newly reported deaths by county

• Black Hawk County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)

• Clinton County, 1 elderly adult (81+)

• Des Moines County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)

• Johnson County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 1 elderly adult (81+)

• Linn County, 1 elderly adult (81+)

Two more staff members at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville, better known as Oakdale Prison, have tested positive for the virus, according the Iowa Department of Corrections’ COVID-19 information page. Five staff members and 13 inmates at the prison have now tested positive.

On Friday, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation relaxing restrictions on elective medical procedures and farmers markets. The governor described the proclamation as the “first step of many to reopening Iowa, and getting life and business back to normal, as soon as possible.” Reynolds said on Monday she would announce further steps.

According to guidelines issued by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, a state should be experiencing a downward trajectory in its reported number of COVID-19 cases for 14 days before it begins to reopen.

On April 12, IDPH reported a total of 1,587 confirmed cases in Iowa. Today, it reported a total of 5,475. That’s an increase of 245 percent over the last 14 days.

Reynolds was asked at her press conference on Friday about the conflict between plans to reopen the state and the White House guidelines.

The governor dismissed the idea that the difference between the two were serious, and asserted, as she does several times during each press conference, that her decisions are all data-driven. Reynolds suggested the state would most likely reopen on a region-by-region basis.

“I think it’s like 15 or 19 counties that haven’t even had any cases whatsoever,” she said.

When Reynolds said that on Friday, 15 rural counties had not yet reported any cases of COVID-19 among their residents. That number is now 14, after a resident of Emmet County tested positive for the virus.

Emmet County is also home to Redwood Farms Meat Processors, which announced on Wednesday it was temporarily closing its plant after an employee was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Editor’s note: IDPH revised its numbers for the total number of state deaths, and new cases during the latest 24-hour period after this story was first published. The story has been updated to reflect those changes.

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