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COVID-19 Update
April 1, 2020

IowaBio wants to provide our members useful information during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This newsletter compiles information on state, federal and industry action to combat the virus and its impacts.

If your company is helping respond to COVID-19, IowaBio wants to know about it. Please, send any information about what your biotechnology company or organization is doing to help, to Jessica Hyland at

If IowaBio can assist you in getting information out, connecting with public officials, or support your company in another way, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Past IowaBio COVID-19 Update newsletters are now available at and can be found under the Industry News tab on the IowaBio website.

Iowa Update

Governor Kim Reynolds will hold a press conference today at 2:30 p.m. The press conference will be livestreamed and posted in full on Governor Reynolds’ Facebook Page and YouTube.
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has been notified of 52 additional positive cases of Iowans with COVID-19, for a total of 549 positive cases. According to IDPH, 2 additional deaths were reported; one elderly adult (81+) in Polk County, and one elderly adult (81+) in Washington County. There have been a total of 7,304 negative tests to date, which includes testing reported by the State Hygienic Lab and other labs. 
According to IDPH, the locations and age ranges of the 52 individuals include:
  • Cerro Gordo County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Clayton County, 1 elderly adult (81+)
  • Clinton County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Dallas County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Des Moines County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
  • Dubuque County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
  • Harrison County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Henry County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Iowa County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Jasper County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
  • Johnson County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Linn County, 2 adults (18-40 years), 2 middle-age adults (41-60 years)
  • Madison County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Mitchell County, 2 middle-age adults (41-60 years)
  • Muscatine County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • O’Brien County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Polk County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years), 3 older adults (61-80 years), 1 elderly (81+)
  • Pottawattamie County, 1 child (0-17 years)
  • Poweshiek County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Scott County, 2 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Story County, 2 older adults (61-80 years)
  • Tama County, 1 middle age adult (41-60 years), 2 older adults (61-80 years)
  • Van Buren County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Warren County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Washington County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 5 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 2 older adults (61-80 years), 1 elderly adult (81+)
A status report of monitoring and testing of COVID19 in Iowa is provided by IDPH and can be found here. In addition, a public hotline has been established for Iowans with questions about COVID-19. The line is available 24/7 by calling 2-1-1 or 1-800-244-7431. The state of Iowa has started sharing the number of negative tests conducted at outside labs, and is providing additional information on the conditions of those infected with COVID-19.
Note: Upon further case investigation, a positive case identified as a Washington County resident was determined to be a resident of Keokuk County. Maps at the IDPH webpage and will be updated to reflect the new information.

Yesterday at the Governor’s press conference, focused on protections for elderly in nursing homes. In addition, she unveiled a COVID-19 legal hotline at 1-800-332-0419 for Iowans experiencing legal issues due to COVID-19, sponsored by Iowa Legal Aid. In addition, she stressed that social distancing should be practiced when you leave home and stay home when you’re sick. She spoke again in response to press questions about additional testing including tests being developed to determine if people have already had the virus. The Governor has said she has asked the federal government for additional testing supplies. Mid to late April is Iowa’s estimated peak, based on current information and data on cases, plus the mitigation measures taken.

The Governor outlined that they are working every day to get info through the Iowa Hospital Association and individual hospitals. She said they have identified 12,000 hospital beds with ability to staff 9,000 of those at this time. There are also 600 ICU beds and some that are not adult beds such as in NICU’s that might also be used, if necessary.

Federal Actions
  • After last week’s passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, members of Congress are now looking ahead to a fourth supplemental funding package.
  • The HHS Assistant Secretary for Health and U.S. Surgeon General issued an open letter to the health care community stressing the need to aggressively implement the following four measures:
    • Rigorous adherence to all social distancing measures, including limitations on gatherings and travel. This is the best way to reduce infections and thus demand for ventilators.
    • Optimize the use of mechanical ventilators, which includes canceling elective surgeries as well as transitioning other medical equipment for mechanical support for respiratory failure.
    • Judicious, data-driven requests and usage of the SNS of ventilators and equipment. To be able to allocate ventilators where they are most needed, all states must be data-driven in their requests based on the actual capacity for mechanical ventilation, including anesthesia machine conversions.
    • Increasing the capacity of the SNS through federal procurement. The SNS will receive at least an additional 20,000 mechanical ventilators by mid-May 2020.
  • The FDA created the Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP), as the federal government’s primary organization to develop and test COVID-19 treatments. CTAP will have a major focus on public private partnerships. CTAP is currently exploring antiviral drugs like remdesivir that might treat the specific virus, as well as host targets, such as interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor inhibitors that may be helpful in reducing lung inflammation and improving lung function in COVID-19 patients. Work is also ongoing to evaluate whether existing therapies such as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine (with or without other medications) help treat patients with COVID-19.
  • CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said today that as many as one-quarter of individuals infected with COVID-19 may never show symptoms, one of many reasons the virus has spread so widely.
  • CMS is publishing daily news alerts. that summarize recent CMS actions in response to COVID-19.
  • Rep. Nydia Velasquez (D-NY) is still the most recent member of Congress to receive a presumptive positive test result for COVID-19. She joins Reps. Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), and Ben McAdams (D-UT) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). Twenty-eight other members are in self-quarantine and six members have completed a self-quarantine.
Updates from the States
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are total cases: 163,539  travel-related: 1,042 “close contact”: 2,919 The CDC now updates data Monday through Friday and data closes out the day before reporting.
    • The CDC is reporting 2,860 deaths in the U.S. related to COVID-19.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom said that 170 ventilators that were shipped to California by the federal government needed repairs over the weekend.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a new website enlisting retired physicians, student doctors and nurses at the end of their training to contribute to the “human capital surge” of medical professionals. The website also calls for dentists, paramedics, behavioral health professionals, respiratory therapists and other medical professionals.
  • Testing continues to be a prominent state issue. State and local governments still do not have access to the tests they need, and data collection has been particularly challenging. Domo’s tracking site has a map of state testing, which might be useful to those working on state-level issues.
  • According to the American Health Care Association (AHCA) states should direct nursing homes to create segregated units for COVID-19 patients as the facilities take on more overflow patients from nearby hospitals overwhelmed by the pandemic.
    • The AHCA also recommended moving nursing home residents to other facilities to establish dedicated COVID-19 treatment centers that can take hospital discharges. The CDC has reported that at least 147 nursing homes in 27 states have at least one COVID-19 infection.
  • The pandemic has shed light on socioeconomic health disparities across the U.S., but the New York City subway system (MTA) has become a prime example. While ridership of the MTA has decreased significantly, system data shows that the steepest declines have been in Manhattan, where the median household income is the highest in the city. Meanwhile, some stations in Bronx neighborhoods with high poverty rates have largely retained their ridership. Many residents have said they cannot afford to stop riding MTA trains because they have no other means of transportation and still must go to work.
  • Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. are now all under stay at home orders by their respective governors. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed his state’s into place until June 10th, the latest one so far.
    • Approximately three-fourths of Americans are either currently under stay at home orders or will be soon.
    • This resource from Bloomberg Law is a database of State Quarantine and Public Health Laws related to the COVID-19 response.
    • This series of maps shows how states are responding to COVID-19, and this tracker, created and maintained by MultiState Associates, has an up-to-date list of executive orders and various travel restrictions.
International Affairs
  • The WHO has updated operational planning guidelines in balancing the demands of responding directly to COVID-19 while maintaining essential health service delivery, and mitigating the risk of system collapse. Countries should identify essential services that will be prioritized in their efforts to maintain continuity of service delivery and make strategic shifts to ensure that increasingly limited resources provide maximum benefit for the population. 
    • Examples of essential health services include routine vaccination, reproductive health services (care during pregnancy and childbirth), management of mental conditions, and managing auxiliary services (basic diagnostic imaging, laboratory services, blood bank services).
  • One of Russia’s lead doctors for COVID-19 coordination has tested positive less than a week after meeting (and shaking hands) with President Vladimir Putin. A Kremlin spokesman has said that Mr. Putin has been tested regularly and remains healthy. Russia’s cases have increased fivefold in the last week.
  • Crew members on the Zaandam, a Holland America Line cruise ship that’s carrying two people infected with the deadly coronavirus and still in search of a port, say they aren’t being tested for the pathogen or adequately quarantined if they get sick.
    • The shortage of staff on the Zaandam means that workers are not being quarantined for the recommended 14-day period. The ship, which was supposed to dock in Florida, is carrying over 2,500 guests and crew members.
  • Countries in Asia are again tightening their borders as they fear a second wave of new infections coming in from elsewhere. Following a recent uptick in cases tied to international travelers, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan all barred foreigners from entering in any capacity. Japan has barred visitors from most of Europe, and is considering denying entry to travelers from countries including the U.S. South Korea imposed stricter controls, requiring incoming foreigners to quarantine in government facilities for 14 days upon arrival.
  • Experts continue to scrutinize the accuracy of death and case rate reporting out of China, North Korea, and Indonesia. As mentioned yesterday, China was not originally including asymptomatic patients in its statistics, despite that being the WHO’s recommendation for reporting.
  • On a more positive note, in Afghanistan, landlords have waived rent, tailors have handed out thousands of homemade face masks, and youth groups and athletes have delivered food to hospitals and families in destitution.
  • Global Cases:  750,890    Total Deaths:  36,405
Latest on the Virus
  • A recent case study found that only half of patients had a fever at the time of hospital admission, which suggests that fever may not be a useful criterion to determine the severity of COVID-19 and that diagnostic algorithms which require fever for COVID-19 testing may delay diagnosis. The majority of patients had chronic illnesses before their admission to the ICU. Although the case fatality rate was higher in persons 65 years of age or older, it was still substantial (37 percent) in persons younger than 65 years of age.
    • Regarding antiviral interventions, 7 patients received compassionate-use remdesivir, but there was insufficient information to report associated outcomes. 
  • The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery proposed adding anosmia and dysgeusia to the list of screening tools for possible COVID-19 infection. Anecdotal evidence from around the world has shown that anosmia (lack of sense of smell) and dysgeusia (lack of taste) are significant symptoms associated with COVID-19.
Lifestyle and Economy
  • The COVID-19 pandemic led U.S. stocks to their worst quarter since 2008, with the S&P 500 crawling to the quarter’s finish line down 20 percent (down 1.6 percent today alone). The Dow lost 23 percent this quarter, its lowest since 1987.
  • Abbott Laboratories shares surged in U.S. trading after the company unveiled a coronavirus test that can tell if someone is infected in as quickly as five minutes, and is so small and portable it can be used in almost any health-care setting. The stock gained as much as 13 percent in New York, the biggest intraday gain since 2002. The shares were up 9.9 percent to $81.94 this morning in New York.
  • Following a vote from the NCAA's Division I Council, schools can now allow athletes in spring sports to extend their eligibility for another season. Teams can have more athletes on scholarship to account for incoming recruits and players with extended eligibility.
    • Basketball, hockey, and rifle athletes who saw their championship competitions cancelled are not eligible for the new rules.
  • Spirit Airlines Inc. is temporarily suspending all service at five airports in the Northeast, including New York’s La Guardia and New Jersey’s Newark International. The airline is also halting service to Hartford, Connecticut, and two destinations in Upstate New York: Niagara Falls and Plattsburgh. The hiatus will last until at least May 4th.
  • Forbes is keeping a running list of all major international airline COVID-19-related change and cancellation policies.
  • Facebook announced today that it would give out $25 million in grants to local news organizations and spend $75 million in marketing that will go to news outlets internationally. 
  • The New York Times has started its own tracker of cases in the U.S. to fill in the gaps left by agency data.
  • Following the multiple cruise ship infections over the last couple of months, Nature published an article examining what the cruise ship outbreaks taught us about COVID-19.
  • Toronto has cancelled all events through June 30th, including the city’s Pride Parade.
    • Lists of canceled conferences and events can be found here (music), here (tech), here (general), and here (sports/entertainment).
Featured Resources

CARES Act Update For Small Business: Courtesy of BIO

On Friday, the House passed the CARES Act and President Trump signed it into law immediately after.

The “Paycheck Protection Program” provides eight weeks of cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to small employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. Please note – If the employer maintains payroll, the portion of the loans used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities will be forgiven. This provision will help workers remain employed, and allow affected small businesses and our economy to recover quickly from this crisis. This proposal would be retroactive to February 15, 2020, to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls.The below Q&A can help you walk through the small business portion of the legislation.

If your small business is struggling due to the recent Coronavirus epidemic:
  • Your business may be eligible for a new Paycheck Protection Loan.
  • This 4% interest rate loan is 100% guaranteed by the SBA.
Who is eligible? 
  • Businesses and 501(c)(3)s with less than 500 employees.
  • Physician practices are eligible, no matter how they are structured.
Where can you get this loan?  What can you use the loan amount for? 
  • Payroll costs - Group health care benefits
  • Employee salaries - Interest on any mortgage obligation
  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • And any other debt obligations occurred before Feb. 15, 2020.
How much can you borrow? 
  • The maximum amount is the lesser of $10 million or 2.5 times the average monthly payroll based on last year’s payroll.
How long will it take to receive the money? 
  • The SBA has authorized lenders to process, close, and service loans without SBA approval, giving you the means to invest in your business immediately.
What if you can’t pay it back? 
  • First, all payments on principal, interest, and fees will be automatically deferred for six months.
  • Second, for businesses that retain their staff up until June 30, 2020, this loan will be forgiven.
Can the entire loan be forgiven? 
  • No, only the portion of the loan used to cover payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities can be forgiven.
  • In addition, only 8 weeks can be forgiven.
What does this bill do to provide relief for rural communities and farmers?
  • The bill includes a number of small business provisions designed to help farmers stay in business and take care of their employees during this difficult time. These include provisions that allow farmers to work with their trusted farm credit institutions for the purposes of securing payroll tax loans, along with 1-year deferrals, 100% guarantees, and low rates.
  • The bill provides $14 billion for the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), the funding mechanism for all major USDA programs. It also appropriates an additional $9.5 billion to specifically respond to losses due to COVID-19. 
  • Additional funding is provided for USDA agencies that are on the front lines of responding to COVID-19, including the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and the Farm Service Agency (FSA). 
  • The bill also includes $100 million to provide financing for rural broadband through the ReConnect program, and $25 million for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine program to provide grants for equipment and connectivity improvements. 
Employee retention credit – how will this work? 
  • The Employee Retention Credit provides a refundable payroll tax credit equal to 50 percent of up to $10,000 in wages per employee (including health benefits) paid by certain employers during the Coronavirus crisis. 
  • The credit is available to employers: 
  • Wages paid to employees during which they are furloughed or otherwise not working (due to reduced hours) as a result of their employer’s closure or economic hardship are eligible for the credit. 
Testing Here is FDA’s COVID-19 testing page with FAQ. According to the AdvaMed, the list of currently approved COVID-19 tests approved for diagnostic use.  Tests that have received EUAs (Emergency Use Authorization) from FDA for COVID-19 include: Additional COVID-19 IVDs that are available and being performed around the country, and in the process of securing EUAs, include: Helpful Articles/Media
Please contact me directly with any questions and I would be happy to assist.


Jessica Hyland, J.D.
Executive Director
Iowa Biotechnology Association
Cell: (515) 822-1315
Office: (515) 327-9156
Fax: (515) 327-1407
Copyright © 2020 Iowa Biotechnology Association, All rights reserved.

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