april2020newinitiativeCOVID-19

*Editor's note: This story is updated daily to cover topics and information related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was last updated May 7, 2020 at 11:45 a.m. The latest story ends with with two "pound" signs.

DES MOINES — Instead of starting with the numbers at the daily COVID-19 press conference today, May 7, Gov. Reynolds talked about some of the updated features of the Coronavirus Iowa website.

In Reynolds recent meeting with President Trump, she highlighted this website to illustrate how the state is keeping Iowa residents informed.

"In fact, I was proud to relay to the team (Trump's) that since March, we've actually increased our testing capacity by 800 percent," she said.

The state was doing about 300 COVID-19 tests a day in March, roughly 1,300 a day in April and is now doing approximately 2,900 day in May, according to Reynolds

Here are some of the new features of the Coronavirus Iowa website:

*Updated dashboard to make it more visual, which allows the public to watch the trends on a daily basis and filter data down to a specific day or county, for example, to make the obtaining of information more relevant to them

*The information is now timelier. This means numbers will reflect the time frame from 12 a.m. to 11 p.m. the previous day

*Data can now also be exported from the website to a spreadsheet or a variety of other types of files

*Daily case counts since the first positive case can now also be reviewed to provide a much better sense of the situation over time

*Can also access the number of Test Iowa assessments done and a breakdown of the numbers by age and gender, as well as by county

*The epidemic curve can also be viewed in multiple different ways

To date, there have been 66,427 tests completed. Per capita, this number means one in 46 Iowans have been tested.

There are now 11,059 total positive cases. Turned into a percentage, it would be 16.6 percent. Or looking at in another way, the figure means one in every 280 Iowans have tested positive.

As for those who have recovered, the number is 4,266. Just yesterday, May 6, there were 204 reported individuals and 191 on May 5.

The death toll is up to 231 individuals. That means there has been an addition 24 deaths since the last update.**

Gov. Kim Reynolds, in the daily COVID-19 press conference today, May 5, said that over the past few days, the state has expanded the amount of testing able to be done in order to begin phasing in the re-opening of businesses and the re-starting of activities put on hold while the focus was on mitigating the virus.

The testing also allows the state to gather a great deal of information and create a targeted approach to manage the virus, especially in areas where the virus activity is increasing or high, said Reynolds.

The Governor used the metaphor of "fishing where the fish are." In other words, the state is testing where virus activity is already high or has the potential to increase.

"So, it's no wonder that our daily case counts have grown over the last few weeks," she added.

The Governor announced there are 408 new positive cases now for a total of 10,111 cases.

More than 80 percent of the newest cases are, again, from the 22 counties where restrictions remain in place.

Here some other highlights from the press conference:

*Of those 408 new cases, 261 of them were in Woodbury and Polk counties

*On a per capita basis, about one in 52 Iowans have been tested for the virus

*More than 3,500 people have recovered, a recovery rate of 35 percent

*There has been an additional 19 deaths, bringing the tally to 207. And 56 percent of that total is residents of long-term care facilities

Patrice Lambert, the Dubuque County Public Health executive director, also spoke about the county's efforts to conduct surveillance testing at long-term care facilities and businesses in their communities.

She first talked about the state's support of their local targeting testing program, which will start tomorrow, May 6.

She said partnerships are how Iowa will get through this pandemic. She said this is a great example of local and state agencies coming together to address a challenge.

The state provided the local program with 1,000 collection kits in order to get them started. 

Lambert wanted to remind people that this program is not open to the public.

"This is not a community testing program, nor is it related to the Test Iowa program," she explained. "But it is enabling us to expand local testing with special populations."

Again, she said thanked all those who helped make this program happen and reiterated that the program will begin tomorrow, May 6, and end on Friday, May 8.

Lambert hopes this program will serve as a model for other counties across Iowa as well as for the state.**

Gov. Kim Reynolds says she will work to continue opening up the state again, but will do so in a "responsible" manner.

As of Monday’s daily COVID-19 press conference with Reynolds, there were 740 new positive cases for a total of 7,885 positive cases.

“Eighty percent of today’s positive cases are from the 22 counties where restrictions remain in place,” Reynolds added.

There were another eight Iowans, at the time of the press conference, who had lost their lives due to the virus.

The number of new cases reported from May 2 at 10 a.m. to May 3 at 10 a.m. was 534. Eight deaths were also reported.

Twenty-eight outbreaks have happened at long-term care facilities across the state.

They happened in the following counties: Bremer, Black Hawk, Dubuque, Marshall, Tama, Linn, Dallas, Polk, Jasper, Poweshiek, Muscatine and Washington.

Reynolds also stated that in the past week, strike teams has been deployed and tests have been sent to long-term care facilities, manufacturing facilities and the Iowa Veterans Home so essential workers can be tested.

Test Iowa sites have been opened in two major cities, Des Moines and Waterloo.**

Have you heard about the new initiative?

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced it during her daily COVID-19 press conference Tuesday, April 21.

It is called Test Iowa. The initiative is a partnership the Governor's Office has made with state leaders and private corporations. The website is www.testiowa.com.

The goal is "to dramatically increase the rate of COVID-19 testing so Iowans can have better access to testing and help stem the spread of COVID-19 to get us back to normal as quickly as possible," according to the website.

"...[It] is conducted using the highest levels of security and privacy protection available," Reynolds said at the press conference.

The process includes answering a series of questions, which include asking about any symptoms you have and who you have been in contact with recently, to name a few.

Once the assessment is completed, the individual will receive a follow-up e-mail with information "appropriate for you," said Reynolds.

If you are eligible for testing, the e-mail will prompt you to set up a time at a testing location near you. There will also be a code you will need to check in once you arrive there.

Testing locations will begin to be set up in the upcoming weeks. The first, said Reynolds, will be in Des Moines at the Iowa Events Center, north parking lot. It will open on Saturday, April 25.

Iowa was the second state to launch this initiative. The first to do so was Utah.

As for other testing locations, they could open as early as next week, said Reynolds.**