Gov. Kim Reynolds Gives Update On COVID-19

Tue 3-17-2020

(Des Moines)-- Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says her staff is looking at ways to address what is now a severe need for additional childcare with schools throughout the state shuttered. Speaking during a news conference late Monday, the Governor told reporters a number of things are being considered to address the issue...Reynolds Presser01 

"My staff is working hand in hand with the Department of Education, the Department of Human Services and the Department of Public Health to put policies in place that ensure continued access to childcare during this time. And this includes financial assistance so that childcare providers of receive childcare assistance are paid on enrollment rather than attendance and ways to expedite licensing so we can quickly ramp up childcare capacity."

The Governor added the Legislature is considering a measure that would waive the instructional time requirement of schools, meaning districts would not have to make up the days that are being missed. She said she'll sign the bill if it's passed.

The Governor also talked about testing for COVID-19 in the state, saying the State Hygienic Lab is ramping up its capacity by adding a second shift...Reynolds Presser02 

"Our daily capacity for running tests will now increase from 54 to 108 tests per day. When the situation warrants we are ready at that point to add a third shift so the we can continue, so that we can run tests around the clock."

Governor Reynolds also said as of now, she has no plans to put restrictions on bars, restaurants and other venues, but she said that could change...Reynolds Presser03 

"We're not making that recommendation right now, but I said the same thing with schools, so each day we sit down and multiple times throughout the day we continue to assess the information that we're receiving. Again, we can assess this and you can do that without me ordering these businesses to close. If you are sick, you have a fever, a cough, any respiratory illness, stay home. Practice social distancing. Once we apply the basic recommendations that the Department of Public Health and CDC is making, we start to have the impact that we're looking for without implementing some of those additional procedures. So I'm not saying we're not and at this point we are not, but we're going to continue to assess the situation. Hey, I bet they do takeout, so call and order and pick it up and take it home. So there are other things that we can do to support our businesses and industry, to help keep them up and running, but most importantly, again, if you're sick stay home and practice social distancing."

The Governor added the state is assisting schools in the state with meal programs to supplement kids who are in need while schools are shut down. Many local school districts have announced plans to make those programs available.