Gov. Reynolds skips another COVID-19 news conference as hospitalizations hit record highs once again

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Video still of the Maytag Auditorium of Iowa PBS in Johnston, prior to a news conference by Gov. Kim Reynolds.

For the 10th time this month, Iowa set a new record for the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, as the Iowa Department of Public Health reported 564 patients on Tuesday morning. That is an increase of three infected people from the previous record of 561 patients that was set on Sunday evening.

Hospital officials and infectious disease experts have warned that the healthcare system is under stress as the spread of the virus remains uncontrolled in Iowa.

Speaking to WOI-TV last week, Dr. Jorge Salinas, an infectious disease specialist at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, said “You can’t expect your hospitals to mop up after you week after week, month after month.”

Salinas, like other experts, said the state needs to take more action to mitigate the spread of the virus. “It’s clear that banking on personal responsibility is not enough,” Salinas said.

Gov. Reynolds has repeatedly said she is confident the state’s hospitals are able to handle the continuing surge in new cases caused by community spread of COVID-19. But she hasn’t addressed recent concerns about the strain put on the health care system, because the governor hasn’t held a news conference to address COVID-19 in almost three weeks.

On July 30, the governor’s office announced Reynolds would hold twice-weekly news conferences “to update Iowans on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The news conferences were supposed to be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The governor’s last news conference on the virus was on Oct. 7. It was the only COVID-19 conference Reynolds has held this month. The last time the governor held two COVID-19 news conferences in a week was the second week of August.

On Tuesday, IDPH reported another 1,178 Iowans tested positive for the virus during the 24-hour period ending at 10 a.m., including 40 residents of Johnson County and 110 residents of Linn County.

During that same period, IDPH reported another 22 COVID-19 deaths. Among the deceased were three residents of Linn County.

The newly reported deaths brought the state’s COVID-19 death toll to 1,658. Thirty of the people who have died from the virus were from Johnson County, and 132 were from Linn County.

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