No additional COVID-19 related deaths in Iowa

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There are no additional deaths related to COVID-19 to report in Iowa today. The total for the state stands at 26. Numbers for the country and the world may have been inflated, as Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator for the White House’s task force, reiterated that all deaths of people with coronavirus will now be classified as caused by COVID-19 – even if there is another actual cause.

Numbers for the state are as follows, as of this morning’s press conference with Gov. Kim Reynolds:
– 97 new cases for a total of 1,145 positive tests (One-fourth of all positive tests are within a family unit, or people otherwise living together.)
– 1,151 negative cases for a total of 12,821 negative cases
– 122 people hospitalized who have tested positive.
– 431 people have recovered from COVID-19 (38 percent of all positive cases.)
– 2 positive cases in Marion County, no new ones since our last report.

As a reminder, there have been six health care regions established by the state as a way to pool resources in close proximity. Marion County is in Region 1, which includes Iowa’s most populous county, Polk.

In Region 1, the Governor reports that there are 33 patients hospitalized – 11 of whom are in intensive care and six of which are on ventilators. Hospitals in this region have 1,433 beds available, 221 ventilators available and 179 intensive care beds available.

The virus has shown 399,979 positive cases in the United States since Jan. 22. Reynolds believes the peak of the virus is expected later this month.

Much of this morning’s press conference focused on the measures taken by the state to help small business owners. Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham reported that the state has received 5,700 applications for tax deferrals from business owners. That application process is open through April. There have been 14,000 applications received for some kind of relief. Iowa’s relief fund has doubled to $24 million, not counting the $1.25 billion the state will receive through the CARES Act.

There will be 503 businesses who can expect to receive checks soon from the State – these will include bars, restaurants and the other businesses hit hardest by the Governor’s first round of forced closures. Durham reports that businesses from every individual sector of Iowa’s economy has submitted applications for assistance in every region of the state.

“Our small businesses are the backbone of our communities,” Durham said. “Triage” is the best word to describe efforts thus far, as the state has assessed who has been hit the hardest. For more information on assistance, click here.

Reynolds is expecting more information from the federal government regarding the rules of the $1.25 billion block grant coming to the state. Though 10 percent of those who have tested positive for COVID-19 are hospitalized and 38 percent of those confirmed to have it have recovered, Reynolds expects the worst is yet to come. Models are still being made and preparations are being taken.

“Everybody has to be responsible,” Reynolds said.