DES MOINES, Iowa – During a press conference on Thursday, Gov. Kim Reynolds defended her decision to relax COVID-19 mitigation standards that went into effect last Sunday.
“Iowans know what to do. We’ve been telling them for a year what they need to do, and they’re doing it. They’re doing it,” she said to a reporter who questioned her decision.
“California has been locked down since March, New York. Their numbers are no different. But we’ve been able to help a little bit with COVID fatigue by being reasonable and measured and by not (sic) trying to balance the lives and livelihoods of Iowans,” Reynolds added.
She stated she wanted to look at the metrics impacted by the pandemic and subsequent lockdown that do not get attention.
“Guess what’s on the rise? Mental illness is on the rise. Substance abuse is on the rise. Young people contemplating suicide is on the rise. Child pornography is on the rise. Food insecurity is on the rise. Children being left behind socially emotionally, and falling behind academically that is on the rise. Delayed care at the hospitals is on the rise. Child and spousal abuse is on the rise,” Reynolds argued.
She then pointed out that viral activity is down.
“Hospitalizations are down 80 percent. Positivity rate is down. Days to double is down from 33 to 94. Long-term care facility outbreaks have gone from 166 to 39. We’re vaccinating older Iowans. We are almost through our long-term care vaccinations and assisted living. We’re working to vaccinate individuals, 65 and older, essential workers and teachers,” Reynolds argued.
“So it’s a balance. I’m not saying go out there and be carefree and not be responsible. I’m saying I trust Iowans to do the right thing. And I know our businesses will do the right thing too. They’re doing it every day. Our schools are doing the right thing. I don’t think they need me to say, ‘mandate it.’ And even when I talked to Iowans in November, do you remember me saying there’s not enough law enforcement in the country to make people do what we say to do. But if we are reasonable and balanced, and ask them to help us work together to bring those numbers down, so we can open back up, keep our kids in school, keep our businesses open? Then we’re going to get through it. And we did,” she stated.
At the time of publication, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa’s current 14-day positivity rate is 8.3 percent, and the seven-day positivity rate is down to 6.2 percent. There are currently 273 COVID-19 hospitalizations, down from a high of 1,527 on November 17, 2020. On Wednesday, new admissions were at 32, down from the high of 234 new admissions on November 15, 2020. Also, 182,642 Iowans have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination, and 99,978 Iowans have received the second dose and completed the vaccination process.
Listen to the full press conference below: