Sep 2, 2020

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds Press Conference Transcript September 2

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds Press Conference Transcript September 2
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsIowa Gov. Kim Reynolds Press Conference Transcript September 2

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds held a press conference on September 2. Iowa reported the highest increase rate of coronavirus cases nationally last week. Read the transcript of the briefing here.

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Gov. Kim Reynolds: (08:38)
Okay, good morning. We’ll go ahead and get started. I am pleased to announce today that an additional 10 counties have been improved by President Trump for individual disaster assistance. They include the counties of Benton, Boone, Cedar, Jasper, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott Story, and Tama. And of course, those have been added to Linn County. I want to thank the president, Administrator Gaynor and the team at FEMA for working with Director Flynn and our team at Homeland Security Emergency Management to get the necessary assessments completed. It is a rigorous process to quantify the impact of the disaster to meet the thresholds that are necessary to access this disaster recovery assistance.

Gov. Kim Reynolds: (09:23)
From the county level to the federal level, it was a team effort for which we’re very grateful. And one important piece of individual assistance is access to D-SNAP, which is Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Resources, where residents that are impacted can receive a month’s worth of SNAP benefits to support their nutritional needs. Enrollment has already been underway in Linn County and will now expand to the additional counties that were approved yesterday for the individual assistance. Information on the locations, eligibility, and the process for applying is available on the Department of Human Services website at dhs.iowa.gov.

Gov. Kim Reynolds: (10:10)
As power has been restored, one of the significant challenges that remains in the counties impacted has been debris removal. So whether it’s Belle Plaine, Woodward, Marshalltown, Cedar Rapids, it’s astonishing actually to still see the piles of trees, branches, and other debris lining streets waiting to be hauled away. Both the Iowa National Guard and the Department of Transportation have been critical in our efforts to remove the debris. The Iowa National Guard had a total of 207 soldiers and airmen working in Linn County in both civil support and engineering teams, assisting in restoring power clearing debris and food distribution.

Gov. Kim Reynolds: (10:48)
General Corell reported that they cleared 593 city blocks of debris, moving 1,412 dump truck loads, which equals about 15,000 tons of debris. You know, as I’ve had the opportunity to travel…

Gov. Kim Reynolds: (11:03)
-a 1000 tons of debris. As I’ve had the opportunity to travel the state and visit towns and communities that were impacted by the derecho, DOT trucks and front end loaders have also been a common sight. And I’ve also heard repeatedly a heartfelt appreciation from small town mayors, homeowners, and others about the efforts of the DOT. I’ve asked Director Marler of the DOT to talk a little bit about the work his department has done and continues to do in the derecho recovery. Director Marler?

Director Marler: (11:35)
Thank you, Governor. We are grateful for your leadership during this unprecedented times, we thank you for the tireless efforts of you and your team. The DOT is honored to serve our fellow Iowans as we work together to clean up from the devastating derecho storm that hit our state on August 10th. In the days that followed the storm, our field forces sprang into action to assess the damage, reopen roads, and assist with cleanup. We have been in constant collaboration with counties and cities across the state to provide staff and equipment to aid in the clearing of debris off of roadways and property.

Director Marler: (12:12)
As of yesterday, the Iowa DOT has worked in a total of 34 cities and 15 counties. We’ve had as many as 279 staff, 208 trucks, 33 loaders, and dozens of other pieces of equipment involved in the cleanup efforts. DOT maintenance staff from all six districts have been involved. And it’s impressive to note that DOT crews have hauled away a whopping 35,145 loads of debris.

Director Marler: (12:46)
As we have performed our work, we’ve been reminded how much Iowans help Iowans in times of need. We’ve been flooded with phone calls, emails, and social media posts expressing appreciation and kind words, telling us what took mere minutes to clean up would have taken some citizens days or weeks. One of the most memorable and precious kudos came in the form of a hand drawn card left on one of our trucks from a seemingly very young artist. The card along with some wonderful marker drawings, thanked the orange trucks for picking up the trees.

Director Marler: (13:24)
It’s true that our crews, along with crews from counties, cities, public works departments, power companies, the National Guard and various private contractors have all been working very long hours doing hard work in hot and demanding conditions, but the kind words and gestures shown to our men and women have served as heartwarming reminders of why we have chosen this work of public service. It’s who we are. It’s what we do.

Director Marler: (13:53)
And I want you to know we’re not done. We will continue supporting the people of Iowa and helping to clean up the cities of Cedar Rapids, Lamb’s Grove, Le Grand, Marshalltown. We also have plans to return to Newton for a second round of clean up soon.

Director Marler: (14:10)
We were there when the floods came. We were there when the ice and snow fell. When the pandemic hit, we assisted with the Test Iowa program, and recently helped deliver PPE to all 99 counties in support of the start of the school year. We were there when the winds blew on August 10th, and no matter what may come next, I can assure you that Iowa DOT will be there and will stand with you as your partner.

Director Marler: (14:36)
I’m proud of the fine men and women of Iowa DOT. And I can tell you that all of us at DOT are so grateful to serve our neighbors, friends, and families in this great state. We are in this with you and just like the challenges we have faced this year ,we will get through this, and we will get through it together. Thank you, Governor.

Gov. Kim Reynolds: (14:58)
Thanks Scott. And once again, my sincere gratitude to you and all of the women and men at the Department of Transportation for some continued outstanding work. Thank you.

Gov. Kim Reynolds: (15:06)
So now we’ll move into the COVID-19 update. As you may have seen in the news headlines in recent days, Iowa had the highest rate of increase in COVID-19 cases nationally last week, and the fifth highest positivity rate increase in the country. This is according to the CDC, which tracks a number of metrics each week for all states, including the number of new cases and the percent of change from the previous week. As we’ve made Iowans aware, we’ve been experiencing a steady increase in positive cases and a gradual uptick in positivity rate over the last several weeks, especially in our most populous counties and among adults age 18 to 40. During the week of August 2nd through the 8th, Iowa saw 3,444 new COVID-19 cases statewide, a positivity rate of 7.9%. 18 to 40 year olds accounted for 46% of all new cases.

Gov. Kim Reynolds: (16:11)
Just three weeks later, from August 23rd through the 29th, new cases rose to 6,868, at a positivity rate of 12.1%, and 62% were among adults age 18 to 40. Growth of new cases has accelerated, especially as social activity among young adults and on college campuses. From August 2nd through the 8th, for example, in Johnson County, where the University of Iowa is at, before students returned to campus, there were 712 new positive cases for a positivity rate of 9.9%. 51% were among adults 18 to 40, and 18.8% were among 19 to 24 year old. But in just three weeks, the situation is much different in Johnson County.

Gov. Kim Reynolds: (17:05)
From August 23rd through the 29th, new positive cases totaled 1,390 for a positivity rate of 29.7%. 91% of those cases were among adults 18 to 40 years of age. And 74% were age 19 to 24. In Story County during that same timeframe, 783 new cases generated a positivity rate of 27%. 94% of those cases were among adults 18 to 40, and 78% were ages 19 to 24. In Black Hawk County, where UNI is at, the numbers are lower, but like other university communities, they saw an increase in cases in positivity rate. 265 new cases generated a positivity rate of 11.7%. 65% of those cases were among adults 18 to 40. 38% were ages 19 to 24. In Polk County, they saw 1094 new cases with a positivity rate of 11.5%. 54% of those cases were among adults 18 to 40, and 24.7% were 19 to 24 year olds.

Gov. Kim Reynolds: (18:25)
And that’s why additional mitigation measures are now in place in six counties. With access to real time data, along with the information that the EBI team and local public health have been able to gather through the case investigation process, we’re able to determine what’s driving the virus activity and make targeted decisions to help mitigate. In recent days, the CDC has made a number of recommendations for Iowa as they do for all states with increasing cases. Among them has been implementing a comprehensive testing plan for colleges and universities.

Gov. Kim Reynolds: (19:02)
Managing a pandemic on campus can be a unique situation. It’s causing some new ways of doing things to protect the safety of students and staff, both on and off campus. And a big part of that is testing. For weeks my team has been working on developing a testing strategy with Iowa’s colleges and universities to ensure that they have the testing resources and support that they need to manage the health of their students, staff and communities this academic year. We’ve made Test Iowa resources available to those colleges and universities that need it including test equipment and PPE. They’ll also be getting access to the data from those tests to better understand virus activity on campus.

Gov. Kim Reynolds: (19:47)
I am so pleased to have with us today, President Greg Christy of Northwestern College in Orange City, and he is us to discuss how they’re approaching testing and managing COVID-19 on their campus. President Christy. We’ll turn it over to you.

Greg Christy: (20:08)
Thank you Governor. Appreciated the opportunity to be with you today and grateful for your assistance in helping us gain access to testing. We’re blessed to have a number of COVID tests available and in conjunction with the Orange City Area Health System, we chose to do gateway testing on August 14th of all of our incoming fall sports student athletes, coaches, athletic trainers, and also all of our residence life staff, both our professional staff and our student RAs. And we did that testing about 300 of them. On August 14th, we did identify five football players, one men’s soccer player, and one resident assistant. So we were able to immediately isolate those individuals, also quarantine a number of others who had come into contact with them, all with the hopes of helping us get the school year off to a great start.

Greg Christy: (20:58)
And that’s exactly what’s happened and we realize things can change on a dime. So we’re grateful at this point to, now those students classes started here August 25th. So the students who were in isolation have come out and are in class face to face. Students who are in quarantine are now out as well. And I’m pleased to report that right now, after midway through our second week of classes, our current number of cases, we have two present, active, cases among our students on campus. We have about 1100 students on campus, and we have two to five pending tests, students who are showing some symptoms and they’re getting tested. We hope that those will come back negative, but certainly some could come back positive. And we also have 19 students who are presently quarantined on campus at this point.

Greg Christy: (21:44)
And we’ve just also preached to our students that, kind of what we’re calling the four Cs, that our students need to be masked when they’re in class, when they’re in the caf, getting in line to eat, clearly not when they’re eating. Also when they’re in common spaces, and also the two days a week that we-

Greg Christy: (22:03)
When they’re in common spaces, and also the two days a week that we have chapel. Kind of the four Cs, those are the places our students need to be masked. They really want to be on campus, and so they are adhering to those guidelines. We have a Raider Check app that we’ve actually produced, our institutional computing staff has produced. And so every morning at 10:00 AM, they have to check in on the Raider app with us. If they’re showing any signs or symptoms, tell us what their temperature is, and that gets them into the cafe to eat, which is obviously a high motivator for college students, and it also gets them access to our recreation center. So we’re very pleased with the numbers, but I don’t think it would have been possible had we not had access to the test. And we’re so grateful for that, Governor and also grateful that at this point, our campus is quite healthy.

Kim Reynolds: (22:48)
Well, thank you very much. I appreciate that a lot. And thank you for the outstanding work that you’re doing and your team is doing. I love the app. So I wasn’t aware of that, so I think that’s one more measure that we can take in the morning to kind of get some sense of how the students are feeling and maybe drive those that are maybe feeling asymptomatic to move forward and get a test. As we’ve said so often, these are unprecedented times and higher education is often one of those places where that’s most evident. And with so many new ways of doing things, that’s really designed to protect students, staff, and community while keeping the wheels of education moving.

Kim Reynolds: (23:21)
So I know that’s ultimately the goal of everybody, and I know the students want to be on campus as well. And so I think together, we will get through this and get things turned around and accomplish the goal that we’re all shooting for. So again, I want to thank you for the work that you’re doing and thank you to all of the higher education administrators, staff and faculty around the state that really is focused on this important task. Thank you.

Kim Reynolds: (23:46)
So another recommendation from CDC focuses on aiding long-term care facilities, which has been a priority since day one, from ensuring that we have adequate supply of PPE to infection control measures being in place to providing surveillance testing and partnering to really manage outbreaks. And we will continue to work closely with long-term care facilities to protect our most vulnerable population. A continued rise in cases among any age group can result in an increase in community spread, putting our most vulnerable at higher risk. It can also impact our essential workforce, keeping healthcare professionals, law enforcement officers, and teachers away from the work during a time when they have a critical role to play. We can’t prevent people from getting sick or stop the virus completely, but together we can mitigate and manage it.

Kim Reynolds: (24:38)
We know so much more about the virus now than we did in March and April. Our healthcare professionals are experienced in identifying symptoms and caring for COVID-19 patients. Treatments such as remdesivir and convalescent plasma are available and effective. And we have built up our testing through the State Hygienic Lab, through Test Iowa and our large healthcare systems, so that the state has a sustainable long-term testing strategy to meet the needs of Iowans. And we will continue to adapt and learn as new testing methods and mediums come online and data becomes available.

Kim Reynolds: (25:21)
So before I close, I want to have make one more announcement. And that is that we are reopening the Iowa Small Business Relief Program for bars and taverns closed by last week’s proclamation, impacting Black Hawk, Dallas, Johnson, Linn, Polk and Story counties. Those businesses ordered to close under the last proclamation may be eligible for a onetime $10,000 grant to assist with short-term cash flow. The process will be very similar to the one used for small businesses up until now, and it will be ran, of course, through the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Applications will be accepted in two weeks. We were hoping that we could kick it off by Friday. That’s still kind of a goal, but it’s probably going to be the first of next week before we’ll be able to get that up and going, but more information and the application can be found at the Iowa Economic Development website. So I know that I covered a lot today, so thanks for sticking with me and for your attention. And with that, we’ll be happy to take questions.

Speaker 2: (26:28)
Governor, last week, there was a lawsuit by bar owners in Dallas about this. So we never got to hear from you about that lawsuit and whether or not there was a legitimate reason to keep these closed. And the Iowa Restaurant Association suggested, “Let’s don’t close bars. Let’s just change the drinking age to keep young people out of bars.” Can you comment on both of those?

Kim Reynolds: (26:48)
Yeah. So we have a healthcare declaration in place that really lays out the parameters for restaurants and bars to abide by. They have to have a seat. They have to practice social distancing. They need to be in that seat. So that is in the healthcare declaration. And what we found, and as we looked at the numbers and we did some of the case investigation, we had some of the bars that were not up… They weren’t following through with the healthcare declaration guidelines. And so as we saw some of the increase in the positivity rates and we were able to identify where we were seeing this happen. We said that we’re going to enforce the guidelines that are in the healthcare disaster declaration, and we still continued to see the numbers rise. So based on the contact tracing, based on the populous counties, based on students coming back to school, based on the age group and the impact that it was starting to have on community spread, healthcare workforce, I took the next step in really applying targeted mitigation efforts in the six counties that we announced last Friday.

Kim Reynolds: (27:58)
So it didn’t just happen overnight. We’ve tried to work with them. We’ve done webinars. We’ve tried to tell them and work with them, what the expectations are, we need them to follow through. So I don’t know if adding another expectation if maybe they would have followed that. But at this point, because of the increase in the numbers that we were seeing and the communities that we were seeing them in and kind of some potential impact to healthcare workforce, I made the decision that we needed to go ahead and close down bars in those six counties.

Kim Reynolds: (28:28)
And we will continue to review the data every day and every week. And hopefully we’ll start to see that change. I think as we get toward the end of the week, we’ll start to hopefully see those mitigation efforts help and we’ll be able to dial back some of those restrictions. But if we don’t, I’m going to have to take a look at maybe if we need to do it in other areas or there’s other steps that we need to take. But right now, we’ll see what kind of results we get by the measures that we put in place.

Speaker 3: (28:54)
Governor.

Speaker 2: (28:55)
What about the drinking age? Is that an option?

Kim Reynolds: (28:56)
No. Well, we’re going to try this first. I mean, we had restrictions. They didn’t abide by that. We put enforcement behind it. We gave them a warning. We did the fine. We said, “If it happens again, you’re going to lose your license.” And so right now I’ve made the determination to shut down. I don’t like doing that. I am trying to balance the health and safety of Iowans with the livelihoods of these small businesses. It has been a horrible year, and nobody understands that as much as I do, the impact that COVID-19 has had on families and business owners, small business owners especially, across the state, then you layer on top of that a derecho, then you layer on top of that racial unrest. It is really been a tough year. And I don’t take these decisions lightly, but because of the numbers that we were seeing and based on recommendations that were made, it was the right thing to do. And we’ll take a look at the data going forward. And if we have to adjust, we will.

Speaker 4: (29:51)
Governor-

Speaker 3: (29:52)
Governor, Iowa State will allow 25,000 fans in their stands next weekend. How is this safe when you’re talking about Story County being a coronavirus hotspot? And do you support this decision to allow this many people in the stands?

Kim Reynolds: (30:07)
Yep. As I just laid out all that we’re dealing with over this last year and how important it is to help maintain the safety and health of Iowans, but also the livelihood and to start to try to find ways that we can get our lives back to normal, we can do these things safely and responsible. We can open our schools back up. We can open our colleges back up. We can continue to move forward, but we have to have personal responsibility, we have to be aware of what the data is, and then we have to make decisions based on that. So if you have underlying conditions and you’re part of a vulnerable population, maybe I wouldn’t go to the Iowa State football game next week.

Kim Reynolds: (30:46)
It’s 25,000 out of a capacity of 61,500. It is outdoors. They, I’m sure, should wear a mask. And I think if we put the mitigation steps in place, we can continue to move to… We’re playing football on Friday nights. We did a whole summer of softball and baseball where 95% of the teams were able to complete the season. And that was over… Was it 600 and some teams, I think, that participated in summer or in baseball and softball? And we were able to manage and mitigate that so that kids could have some normalcy to their lives. And so you just have to balance all of that. And if we see an impact, then we’ll have to adjust accordingly.

Speaker 3: (31:32)
But Governor, [crosstalk 00:31:32].

Kim Reynolds: (31:32)
Don’t go. If you don’t think it’s safe, don’t go.

Speaker 5: (31:34)
Will you be at the game?

Speaker 3: (31:35)
But those students, you acknowledge the students.

Kim Reynolds: (31:37)
Okay. Who’s… I’ve answered the question. Did somebody else have a question?

Speaker 6: (31:41)
Oh, I have a question. So those are the messages you’ve been sending us for weeks, maybe a couple of months now. And we’ve seen the numbers go up and up and up. And now we’re in the position where we are now that the CDC and the White House taskforce has recommended to you. Some of those recommendations also include a mask mandate, which I know you oppose and you have said frequently that you refuse to do. I think people are asking, “Why?” I mean, we’re getting in a worse and worse position and you just give us the same message of personal responsibility and it’s just not working, Governor.

Kim Reynolds: (32:11)
Well, we do know, through the data, where the numbers are at. As I said, in Johnson County in two weeks. So in two weeks, Johnson County went from 9.1% positivity rate to almost 30% positivity rate. In Johnson County, the number of those that tested positive between the age of 18 and 40 went from 59% to 91%. We know where it’s at. We know where they’re going. I’ve added additional mitigation steps to address it. And that’s been over a two week timeframe. And just like we saw early on, when we saw some outbreaks in some of our processing plants, we went into the hotspot, we tested, we identified, we put in additional PPE, we separated those that were tested-

Kim Reynolds: (33:03)
… we put in additional PPE, we separated those that were testing positive with those that were testing negative. We did the quarantine and we brought them back down. And so we’re going to monitor this next week and we’re going to see if the mitigation efforts that we’ve applied starts to reduce those numbers. And if they don’t, then we’ll take additional steps. But right now I feel that that’s the steps that we can take. So we know that they stand very small chances of it really impacting them and a lot of them are asymptomatic. But when you have numbers that high David, then it starts to really drive community spread in those areas. And as I indicated, then it starts to impact healthcare workforce, which is a resource that we’ve been monitoring throughout COVID-19. And so that was another factor that went into us making the decisions that we made.

Dave: (33:52)
You laid out a lot of numbers about where the increases are with younger people in various places across the state. And in a lot of ways, these college students returning to campus. But other States also have these students returning to campus and they have not seen these spikes as fast as we have the last couple of weeks. So what is unique about this state where we’re seeing this increase so quickly?

Kim Reynolds: (34:18)
I don’t know, I was looking at the news last night and they were starting to tick off colleges and universities all over the country, Dave. So I think you’re going to see a similar thing. Play out that we’re seeing here in Iowa. Especially if they are congregating and some of the social activities, the bars. They don’t have a face mask on they’re there for longer period of time. And we know that the data says that when you’re in contact for a longer period of time, that’s where you tend to spread. They’re asymptomatic, so they don’t know that they have it. We’ve had a very aggressive testing process that’s been put in place. I know in some of the metrics that the CDC looks at, that’s where we actually did score well is because of the amount of testing that we’re doing.

Kim Reynolds: (35:02)
So that’s a part of it too. I think we’re identifying hopefully early on, we can start to understand where it’s at, what the activity looks like, put in the mitigation efforts that we think will hopefully bring that back down, stabilize it, and hopefully continue down moving forward. So, for that week we were, and we did see a rapid increase over a week as they moved back in and we started doing the testing. And as I said, if we don’t see that number come back down, then we’re going to have to take a look at what else we need to do. But I’m hoping, Northwestern, I thought he laid out some really great strategies that he’s putting in place. I’ve talked to the presidents of the three Regent universities, and they really have some great protocols that they’re putting in place on campus.

Kim Reynolds: (35:48)
It was when they were off campus that they were having some of the problems. In addition to that, they’re working with the Greek system to really make sure that’s another congregate setting where kids are in out, that potentially could be a problem moving forward. So they’re trying to work with them and get in front of it if they haven’t already. So we’re collectively working together to try to really get this, hopefully we’ll see an uptick and we’ll see that come back down, but we all have to be responsible. We really do. We have to think about what we’re doing and the impact that it has on other people, the impact that it has on mom and dad and grandpa and grandma and our healthcare workforce. And that is just a reality of COVID-19. It is still in our state, and until we find a vaccine or we have therapeutics that can help really knock it out, then we have to continue to be vigilant. Okay, I’ll go there and then there.

Speaker 7: (36:41)
Governor, why not implement the specific recommendations from the White House coronavirus talk force?

Kim Reynolds: (36:46)
I have done a lot of them, but we have data that we’re looking at on a daily basis. So I still believe it’s up to the governors in the various states to make those decisions. We’re in constant contact. I spoke to the Surgeon General yesterday to talk about the antigen testing. We’re one of the few states that’s actually rolling that into our numbers, which is a good thing because it is another test. It’s a point of care and it’s new, but it’s still a reflection of the testing that’s being done. And so when doctor Bugatti made the recommendation to include that in our overall numbers, I agreed with that. It gives us a truer picture of what’s going on in the state of Iowa. And a lot of States aren’t doing that. They’re not including those in their numbers.

Kim Reynolds: (37:24)
So, we are in contact. I tell them what we’re doing. Sometimes they don’t have the entire picture of the things that we’re doing. We closed some of the bars where we attributed the higher number of positivity numbers to, by the data that we have by the contact tracing that we’re doing. Sometimes they don’t have access to that information. And the nursing homes we’re ahead of them with working with our colleges and universities and community colleges. We’d already done that. So we were able to align that with what some of the recommendations were too. We’ve done a lot of them. Okay.

Speaker 8: (38:02)
The Test Iowa a contract was signed in April 1st, six months, we’re starting to approach the end of that. What happens when that contract expires? And if it needs to be renewed, can the state afford that? Especially if there’s no more federal CARES funding?

Kim Reynolds: (38:17)
Yeah. So that goes through the end of the year. And the Department of Public Health got some additional funding for testing strategy, I think. And they’ve taken that into account. I think it was a hundred million. Is that?

Speaker 9: (38:28)
I think that’s right.

Kim Reynolds: (38:29)
I think that’s right. But the test were for six months, but we actually have the support for a year. And the reason that we did that is because as you’re all aware of, testing strategies are changing. We’re talking about different methods. We’re talking about different mediums, they’re looking at saliva test. And so we wanted to make sure that we had adequate supply of tests to really meet the needs of Iowans and to really be able to this for K 12 and through colleges and universities, for our healthcare facilities, to businesses. So we wanted to make sure that we had adequate supply, but that we also took into account that we know that this is rapidly changing and we didn’t want to be setting on a bunch of tests either.

Speaker 8: (39:13)
Is it through the calendar year or for a year as in 12 months?

Kim Reynolds: (39:16)
Okay. I think the support is through the year.

Speaker 10: (39:19)
One year.

Kim Reynolds: (39:20)
One year. Okay. Support is through the year, but that six months was for the testing supplies, the NPs, the PCR testing, that co diagnostic PCR testing, there we go. It’s all coming back. That we’re using through them. And that’s why we just wanted to be … we would have access to more if we need more. But for right now, we wanted to make sure that … and then, as we move into flu season, we might want to be able to do multi testing with one medium. And so that’s something else that we’re looking at and being very proactive and strategic and thinking about how we start to look at how we approach the flu season.

Speaker 11: (39:56)
Two more questions.

Speaker 12: (39:57)
How many of the 540,000 Test Iowa test kits have we received and how many have been used? Especially if we’re using these at universities or trying to.

Kim Reynolds: (40:08)
So I think, don’t hold me to this at the number is different. I’ll to circle back with you. I think we’ve used about 205,000 of the Test Iowa kits. And the capacity that we have left, we believe will take us through the end of October. So and the other place that we’re using these, I don’t think there’s state hygienic lab is at our prisons, are we using test Iowa? Or combination?

Speaker 9: (40:30)
We’re using them in a variety of [inaudible 00:40:31].

Kim Reynolds: (40:31)
Okay. Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 13: (40:33)
Iowans who have been watching closely the state’s coronavirus data have seen even just in the past few days, major fluctuations in past dates for new cases. They’re seeing these change every day and it’s been a few weeks since the state said it fixed the backdating problem. So what is going on with the state’s data and how can anyone rely on what they’re seeing?

Kim Reynolds: (40:56)
Well, they have full confidence of the data because the overall data hasn’t changed. They did a maintenance update, I think this weekend, so that had a little bit of an impact. And as we’re continuing to work with an antiquated system with IDES, there continues to be just issues and trying to take a system that was never designed to deal with the amount of data that we’re feeding through it. And the scope at which we’re collecting data from hospitals and clinics from around the state. And it’s very complicated and that just causes issues. And sometimes the other factor in this, and I don’t know, I’ll see doctor Bugatti wants to talk about that is, we just don’t get complete information from some of our clinics as far as addresses. And so by the time we get that information throughout this whole process, there’s been an adjustment of maybe the County that came in and then through the case investigation, we found out that that wasn’t accurate. Do you want to hit on anything of the data?

Speaker 9: (41:53)
Yeah. Yeah. So again, it’s all systems IDES is no exception. IT systems require maintenance and surveillance and monitoring to make sure that they’re functioning. And sometimes when we have scheduled maintenance, we did see a disruption over this past weekend. But again, performing this kind of maintenance and surveillance is what we’re going to continue to do for this system. We’re also going to continue to look for ways to improve the systems that public health has to report and receive data because we know how important this is.

Speaker 9: (42:22)
And this is a primary concern for public health that existed before COVID. We want to make sure that we’re getting complete and comprehensive information, all of the variables that we need to see name, test type, dates when they come to us. And sometimes we have to confirm those with patients and with providers, and sometimes those adjustments have to be made. And so we’re going to continue to work on those improvements and adjustments as we move forward, because this is again, a new virus, we’ve known about it for less than a year. We’ve got systems that we’re constantly working to improve, and we’re going to keep making those adjustments because it’s the right thing to do for Iowans.

Speaker 14: (42:59)
If this is such an antiquated system, why wasn’t it upgraded before the pandemic?

Kim Reynolds: (43:07)
I didn’t hear the question. Okay.