As Iowa’s coronavirus ordeal entered its fourth week Monday, Gov. Kim Reynalds cited Iowans’ long history of stepping up when needed in a crisis to ask anyone with sewing skills to help make fabric face masks to protect Iowa’s front-line workers.
“If you can sew, we need your time and talent to produce fabric face masks to protect Iowa’s frontline workers,” she said. “The Department of Public Health has issued simple guidelines and instructions that you can find online at Coronavirus.Iowa.gov. These masks can be used in health care settings under a face shield. If properly cleaned and disinfected, they can be worn multiple times and will help preserve other medical-grade PPE (personal protective equipment).”
The governor said once completed, masks can be donated to the health care facility of your choice. Iowans simply need to call first to find out how and where to drop them off.
“If you are willing and able, we need your help, so thank you for considering to be a part of the solution at hand,” she said.
Gov. Reynolds also spoke to the number of businesses and individuals who have already reached out to help, saying the behavior of Iowans in times of need is inspiring
“If we know something about Iowans, it is that we are at our best when times are tough,” she said. “We see it at harvest time when area farmers come together to help get the crop out of the field for a struggling farm family. We see it at times of natural disasters when people from across the state show up with donations of food, clothing and shelter because it’s the right thing to do. And now, even as our resolve is being tested in ways like never before, Iowans are more determined than ever to step up and care for their own.”
The governor noted the need for getting PPE into the hands of front-line workers in the state. Even supplementing traditional suppliers with existing stockpiles, 100 percent of the need cannot be filled.
“That’s why, as I have said over and over, we’re taking an ‘all hands on’ approach, and it makes us work even harder to find more solutions,” she said. “Here in Iowa, private sector manufacturers and other partners are stepping up with offers to produce PPE, or to donate the supplies, technology and services to do so.”
Increasing the number of face shields allows greater flexibility in the type of masks that can be used, and several Iowa companies are starting production of face shields for health care systems and providers.
Industrial sewers, 3D printers and others have also contributed to efforts to battle COVID-19.
The governor’s call came as the Department of Public Health confirmed an outbreak in a long-term care facility in Cedar Rapids. An outbreak is defined as three or more residents in a facility having tested positive.
Twenty-one of Linn County’s 71 total positive COVID-19 cases are directly related to this outbreak, according to Gov. Reynolds, who added state and local public health officials are working closely with the facility to care for those who are sick and assisting with the monitoring of other residents and staff.
Since the beginning of the crisis, the governor noted, staff screening procedures were put in place at long-term care facilities to mitigate the threat of COVID-19.
Noting President Trump announced yesterday he was extending social distancing guidelines to April 30 to continue slowing the spread of the virus, the governor said the significant mitigation steps taken in Iowa are aimed at that same goal
“We continue to assess our actions on a daily basis,” she said. “For now, we must adjust to a new normal — one that’s uncomfortable, it’s inconvenient, and it’s uncertain — and this is not an easy time.”
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) was notified of 88 additional positive cases of Iowans with COVID-19, it announced Monday, for a total of 424 positive cases. There have been a total of 6,162 negative tests to date, which includes testing reported by the State Hygienic Lab and other labs.
According to IDPH, two Iowans with COVID-19 passed away last night, one elderly adult (81+) of Linn County, one elderly adult (81+) of Washington County.
According to IDPH, the locations and age ranges of the 88 individuals include:
- Audubon County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
- Benton County, 1 middle-aged adult (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years), 1 elderly adult (81+)
- Cedar County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
- Cerro Gordo County, 1 middle-aged adult (41-60 years)
- Clinton County, 1 middle-aged adult (41-60 years)
- Crawford County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
- Dallas County, 3 adults (18-40 years), 1 middle-aged adult (41-60 years)
- Dubuque County, 3 middle-aged adults (41-60 years), 2 older adults (61-80 years),
- Guthrie County, 1 middle-aged adult (41-60 years)
- Iowa County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
- Jackson County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
- Jasper County, 1 elderly adult (81+)
- Johnson County, 2 middle-aged adults (41-60 years), 3 older adults (61-80 years)
- Jones County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
- Linn County, 9 adults (18-40 years), 8 middle-aged adults (41-60 years), 6 older adults (61-80 years), 6 elderly adults (81+)
- Monona County, 1 child (0-17 years), 1 adult (18-40 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
- Muscatine County, 1 middle-aged adult (41-60 years), 2 older adults (61-80 years)
- Polk County, 2 children (0-17 years), 2 adults (18-40 years), 6 middle-aged adults (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
- Scott County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 2 middle-aged adults (41-60 years), 3 older adults (61-80 years)
- Shelby County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
- Tama County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
- Van Buren County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
- Washington County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 3 middle-aged adults (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
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.
This story originally appeared on the Voice of Muscatine. Read More local stories here.