Shortly before Gov. Kim Reynolds opened her daily COVID-19 press conference, it was reported that some of the testing results by Utah-based Nomi Health are not accurate. Reynolds assured the media that the team at University of Iowa Hospitals is validating all test results in Iowa, and she has confidence in them.
“We are sure the tests are accurate,” Reynolds said. She added that all of the tests are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The validation step is intended to ensure that the tests, and results relayed to Iowans, are all accurate.
Iowa became involved with Nomi through native celebrity Ashton Kutcher, who recommended the firm to the Governor. The State is partnering with the firm to get more people tested for COVID-19 through www.testiowa.com.
Part of the issue in Utah is that some of the tests are being analyzed by a local hospital. All of Iowa’s tests are run through the State Hygienic Lab. Reynolds said Iowa is working with a very qualified team to check the tests.
Today, there were 302 more positive cases for a total of 7,145. Of the new positive cases, 89 percent of them were from the 22 counties that will maintain restrictions the rest of the state will have eased on Friday. Black Hawk, Dallas and Polk account for 198 of the 302 new cases. There were 14 more deaths to report today, and 38 percent of those who have tested positive have recovered.
Reynolds did not provide the numbers for those in intensive care, but acknowledged that more are in such condition in northwest Iowa. She continues to monitor the situation. Not every county in Iowa is facing these numbers, and plans are to partially reopen 77 counties.
“COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere,” Reynolds said. “Keeping businesses closed won’t change that.”
Reynolds said Iowans need to learn to live with the virus, as 80 percent of those who catch it will show mild to no symptoms. Everyone must also be mindful of the 20 percent to whom the virus is most dangerous. She encouraged everyone to practice personal responsibility, such as good hygiene, covering your cough, staying home if you don’t feel well, social distancing, etc.
“The health, safety and livelihoods of Iowans are our top priority,” Reynolds said. “We all have a role to play in protecting our most vulnerable Iowans.”
Reynolds was joined at the conference today by Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend, who shared much of the information previously released regarding payments to the unemployed. Debi Durham of the Iowa Economic Development Authority also touted the success of programs aimed to provide businesses stop-gap funding through the pandemic.
The final question Reynolds faced today was in regard to hydroxychloroquine, which has split medical professionals on its efficacy on treating COVID-19. Reynolds said the State is not pushing doctors to use this for treatment outside of hospitals, but doctors have the right to suggest its use if they so choose.