WATERLOO — Another three people in Iowa have died from COVID-19, and 87 new cases of the disease were confirmed Saturday across the state, health officials said.
Black Hawk County reported two more coronavirus cases and now has 10 confirmed. The statewide total now stands at 786 with 14 deaths.
The three new deaths included an adult age 61-80 years old from Linn County, an adult 41-60 years old from Henry County, and an adult 61-80 years old from Polk County.
The new Black Hawk County cases involve one adult 41 to 60 years old and one adult between 61 and 80, according to the governor’s office.
Howard and Grundy counties saw their first cases, both involving adults between 18 and 40.
Tama County added seven cases — one between ages 18 and 40, two 61 to 80 and four over age 81. Tama County now has 29 cases.
Bremer County also added one new case, an adult between 18 and 40.
There have been a total of 9,454 negative tests to date, which includes testing reported by the State Hygienic Lab and other labs.
For most people, COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are among those particularly susceptible to more severe illnesses and even death.
On Friday, Gov. Kim Reynolds expressed concern Friday the shelter-at-home issue is dividing Iowans at a time they need to be united in following directives she said often are more comprehensive in slowing the spread of coronavirus than the shelter orders in most states.
Reynolds used her news briefing at the state emergency operations center to address the issue after a top White House adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, threw his support behind a national shelter-at-home declaration — meant to keep people at home except for essential activities — and the Iowa Board of Medicine also called on her to take the action as a way to protect Iowa’s health care workers.
The governor expressed frustration that people look at a map showing at least 40 states operating under shelter-at-home orders with Iowa as an outlier — but seldom looking deeper to see that Iowa acted early to close businesses, restrict gatherings to 10, recommend people work from home and stay inside when sick or isolate if exposed to the virus; and promoted other precautionary measures. School districts closed voluntarily at first, but remain closed under her order.
The virus now has been found in 65 of Iowa’s 99 counties.
“If you get a side-by-side comparison with what we’re doing in Iowa and what other states are doing they are much the same,” Reynolds said.
“Iowans of all walks of life are either strongly in favor or strongly opposed of sheltering in place, and this has become a divisive issue at a time when we must be united in our response to this crisis,” she said. “I want Iowans to understand that we have taken significant and incremental steps to mitigate the spread of the virus since we identified our first case on March 8. We were ahead of many states in our response efforts and we continue to dial up our mitigation efforts based on data that is designed by the experts in the Iowa Department of Public Health.”
Reynolds said there is a mental health “down side” of suicides and domestic abuse that goes with a restrictive shelter-at-home order.
“What matters is the substance of the order, not it’s name,” the governor noted. “Shelter doesn’t mean any state’s orders are different from or stronger than what we are doing in Iowa.”
Asked directly about Fauci’ position, Reynolds noted there are health experts with competing perspectives, adding “maybe he doesn’t have all of the information. You can’t just look at a map and assume that no action has been taken. That is completely false. There is still some disconnect on what we’ve done and what the expectations are and actually what’s taking place in other states across this country.”
Dr. Caitlin Pedati, the state epidemiologist and Iowa Department of Public Health medical director, said it seemed like “we’re all really saying the same thing” in wanting to keep Iowans safe as the state may be approaching a COVID-19 peak later this month.
On Friday, health officials reported 85 new cases of Iowans with COVID-19, the second-highest single-day tally since 88 cases were reported Monday.
The good news in Friday’s report was that there were not any additional deaths.
A total of 80 Iowans were hospitalized as of Friday with virus-related symptoms or illnesses while another 85 had recovered.
Linn County continued Friday to lead all Iowa counties with 118 cases, followed by Polk County with 100 and Johnson County with 83.
A total of 374 women and 325 men have tested positive, with the 41-60 age range the highest with 256 cases.
The numbers released Saturday came as the Federal Emergency Management Agency reported that it had allocated more than $44 million to Iowa for medical and protective equipment — such as masks, face shields, sanitizers and ventilators. The money was approved as part of a major disaster declaration approved March 23.
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