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At her press conference yesterday, Governor Kim Reynolds said there have been a steady uptick of new COVID-19 cases in Iowa, especially in ages 19-24. Iowa had the highest rate of increase nationally last week and the fifth highest positivity rate in the country for all states, according to the CDC.
During August 2-8, the state saw 3,444 new cases positivity rate of 7.9 percent 18-40 year-olds accounted for 46 percent of all cases. August 23-29 new cases rose to 6,868 and a 12.1 percent positivity with rate 62 percent among 18-40. She also highlighted high case growth in counties with colleges and/or that are highly populous. For more on Iowa as a hot spot see this article. According to New York times data tracking, which differs from the state’s database, Iowa is one of eight states where infections are growing.
The CDC has made a number of recommendations for Iowa in recent days, among them is implementing testing strategy for college campuses, Governor Reynolds said. She has made Test Iowa resources available, and access to the test data to help understand the data and virus activity on campuses.
Governor Reynolds announced the reopening of the small business assistance fund, so that businesses ordered to close, are eligible to a 10,000 grant to assist with short term cash flow. Applications will be accepted early next week. IEDA will administer the plan. Bars in six counties were closed by proclamation of the Governor last week. The application period will begin Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020 and be open for two weeks. More information can be found at iowabusinessrecovery.com.
The Governor fielded a question about a CDC recommendation for a mask mandate for Iowa. The Governor said the data shows where the problems are at, and that they are responding through mitigation measures. She said additional steps will be taken if the numbers do not show mitigation measures are working. The measures taken are based on data and still up to the Governors of the states to implement, she said.
A reporter asked about what happens when the Test Iowa contract expires, and how will the state fund it afterward. IDPH has gotten $100 million additional for testing strategy. The support for Test Iowa will be in place for a year, even though the PCR testing supplies will be available for 6 months. Governor Reynolds said the testing methods are rapidly changing, and with flu season approaching, they are examining multi-testing. The state has used about 205,000 test kits, and they believe the remaining testing supplies will last through October.
Governor Reynolds fielded a question about backdating of new positive cases on the coronavirus hub. She said there was a maintenance update this weekend and it is an antiquated system that wasn’t designed to handle as much data as they are feeding through it, and it just causes issues. She said some clinics don’t supply full data and it has to be readjusted, for example from one county to another.
Currently, IDPH has reported on the state’s coronavirus dashboard, 66,532 Iowans have tested positive, up 686 from our update Friday morning, with a total of 646,082 tested. 9 additional deaths were reported since our last update, bringing the total to 1,134 deaths. Now 48,508 Iowans have recovered. The latest on hospitalizations, including how many patients have been admitted in the last 24 hours can be found here.
School district statistics including positivity rates by county can be found here. According to guidance issued by the Iowa Department of Education, schools may petition to go to hybrid or online learning with less than 50 percent in-person instruction when the per county percentage positivity rates are above 15 percent in a county on average over the past 14 days (rolling average) AND 10% absenteeism among students is expected for in-person learning.