By O. Kay Henderson, Radio Iowa
The number of Iowa hospital patients who’ve tested positive for COVID has dropped 20% since last Friday.
State health officials report 741 patients in an Iowa hospital today have COVID; 55% of them were admitted specifically for treatment of the virus.
Governor Kim Reynolds yesterday said the coronavirus is similar to the flu and other infectious illnesses and state agencies will start managing COVID-19 as “part of normal daily business.” The Public Health Disaster Proclamation the governor first issued in March of 2020 will end February 15 and the Iowa Department of Public Health will take down its online vaccine finder and no longer publish the number of Iowa nursing homes with COVID outbreaks.
House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst, a Democrat from Windsor Heights, said this is “an interesting time” to make this move.
“I want the pandemic to be over,” Konfrst said during taping of “Iowa Press” which airs tonight on Iowa PBS. “We all want the pandemic to over, but shouldn’t we have access to tools that help us keep our families safe? And so my frustration isn’t necessarily with the ending of the pandemic Emergency Proclamation, it’s with what goes away. It’s with access to vaccination information. It makes it harder to know where outbreaks are.”
Konfrst said statewide data about the pandemic helps Iowans make good decisions.
“Yes, we’ve been in this for a while, but we still have thousands of cases,” Konfrst said. “We still have people getting sick, so I think the important thing here is to remember that more information, accurate information is the most important thing we need.”
Kelly Garcia, the interim director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, said similar agencies in more than half of states are making similar changes to manage COVID as they do other contagious viruses.