Aug 4, 2020

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript August 4

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript August 4
RevBlogTranscriptsCOVID-19 Briefing & Press Conference TranscriptsIowa Governor Kim Reynolds COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript August 4

Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa held a coronavirus press conference on August 4. She said any schools not following orders to teach at least 50% in-person are “defying the law”. Read her full update briefing here.

Transcribe Your Own Content

Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (05:08)
Well, good morning and thank you for joining us today. I’d like to thank Iowa PBS for hosting us and for their work in bringing this press conference to the people of Iowa. Returning to school is on the minds of many Iowans. And while there are many options on how to best bring Iowa students back to school, there is one common thread among all of them. Our collective goal from the state level to the local schools is to do so safely and responsibly. Last week, the Department of Education provided additional guidance for schools related to decisions that they have the authority to make locally, to temporarily move students or classrooms to remote learning and when they’ll work with the state to determine if a school or district should, again, move temporarily to remote learning due public health conditions. This morning’s headlines read that some schools will choose to defy the governor by rejecting the very guidance that they requested.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (06:07)
I want to be very clear, schools that choose not to return to school for at least 50% in-person instruction are not defying me, they’re defying the law. The legislature unanimously passed a bill, Senate File 2310, requiring in-person learning as the primary mode of education and that’s what we are working to implement. I acted through the proclamation to provide additional flexibility under the law, including allowing parents to choose remote learning for their children if that’s what they believe is in the best interest for them and their family. But if schools move to primarily remote learning without approval according, again, to the law, those days do not count towards instructional time. Following the release of the guidance, the Department of Education granted Rolling Green School in Urbandale a waiver to return to school remotely for two weeks as their start date was only days after the announcement. Allowing them additional time to make arrangements to return to in-person learning.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (07:15)
However, their request to continue online learning was not approved because the current public health conditions that were outlined in the guidance simply don’t warrant it at this time. Rolling Green is a unique situation as a year round school, and they are the only one in the district currently in session. The Urbandale school board meets next week to vote on their plan to resume classes at the end of August and we anticipate that Rolling Meadows will align with that plan. In the meantime, we will continue to work with them through the transition as we have with schools across the state. By far, the vast majority of Iowa schools already have plans in place that meet the requirement for at least 50% in-person instruction. These plans are creative, innovative, and adaptable and value the health and wellbeing of the whole student.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (08:12)
There are only a few schools requesting waivers to return by remote learning and we are actively working with them. This afternoon, we’ll be meeting with both Urbandale and Des Moines Public Schools, and work is underway with the aims and the Iowa city school districts. As I’ve said, I believe that we all want what’s best for Iowa students. We’ve heard from countless experts, pediatricians, social workers, mental health providers, the CDC that what’s best for kids is for them to be in school and in the classroom. Going back to school will be different and we will need to remain flexible just as we have while managing all aspects of our lives during this pandemic. In the months since the pandemic began we’ve learned a lot about COVID-19. We understand so much more about how the virus is transmitted and what to do to effectively mitigate its spread and which populations are most and least at risk.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (09:17)
We’ve also made significant progress in our ability to target, contain and manage virus activity. By expanding testing capacity across the state and optimizing our data platform, we can track virus trends in real time. We have the tools that we need to protect the health of our state and safely reopen our economy and our schools. Consider for a moment that more than 490,651 Iowans, almost 500,000, have been tested for coronavirus. For a per capita rate of one in six Iowans have been tested. 442,585 have tested negative or 90% and 45,975 have tested positive out of 2.3 million Iowans and 33,922 or 74% have recovered. Last week alone, more than 34,200 Iowans were tested. While there were 2,750 new positive cases, there were 31,115 or 91% negative and the positivity rate was 8%. When you compare that to the month of April when the decision was made to keep schools closed for the remainder of the school year, only 42,091 Iowans had been tested for that month.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (10:46)
A one in 75 per capita testing rate with the average positivity rate of 21.2% and our all time high was 31% on April 27th. Also, when comparing these two periods, it’s important to note that hospitalizations have dropped significantly. Our all time high hospitalizations were 417 on May 6th compared to yesterday were 243 Iowans were hospitalized with COVID-19, but 136 of them were admitted specifically for COVID-19. Over 100 others were admitted for other reasons and on admission, they were tested for COVID-19 and tested positive. Most of the hospitals are now testing every patient when they’re admitted, which is a big change from where we were just a few months ago. So moving forward on the website, we’ll be breaking out the number of those who are in the hospital with COVID-19 as their primary diagnosis for a clearer picture. We know that virus activity will ebb and flow over time just as we’re-

Governor Kim Reynolds: (12:03)
Activity will ebb and flow over time, just as we’re experiencing now. Since late June, we’ve seen positive cases gradually trend upward, but again, our current situation is not the same as it was a few months ago.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (12:16)
As I said I believe that we all want … On April 29, we reported our highest number of new positive cases in a single day, so that was April 29, it was 809 cases out of 2, 961, positivity rate 27.3%. On May 26, in the month of May, 870 was the high for positive cases out of 4,397. Positivity rate 18.4%. June 25, the high for that month was 504 positive cases, of 7,108 tests, positivity rate of 7.1%. On July 10, which was the high for the month of July, it was 703 positive cases, out of 7,546, with a 10% positivity rate and an average of 7.9.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (13:14)
So I’m highlighting this information not to downplay the pandemic. We all know that COVID-19 is a serious situation and we’re appropriately managing it as such, but the headlines would have you believe otherwise. As the governor, I have the responsibility to not react to partially informed headlines or news stories, but to make decisions based on data and the Department of Public Health experts and the epidemiologist team that’s in the best interest in the lives and livelihoods of Iowans.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (13:48)
Our lower positivity rate and lower hospitalization numbers are a sign that Iowans are doing the right thing. As I’ve said before, COVID-19 will be with us until there is a vaccine, so we have to redouble our efforts to protect the elderly, those with underlying health conditions, and our most vulnerable Iowans. Our actions can help slow the spread and keep virus activity at a manageable level in our communities, allowing schools to reopen and businesses to remain open. It’s just as important now as it was two or three months ago to take personal responsibility for your health and the health of others. As long as COVID-19 remains in our communities, we must do everything we can to defend against it. Again, stay home when you’re sick, wash your hands often, and social distancing and wearing a face covering in public are two of the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19. So I am asking all Iowans to help us ensure a safe return to school for Iowa students, teachers, staff and families.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (14:56)
As we talk a lot about COVID-19 being unprecedented, a global pandemic like we have never seen before, it’s touched the lives of every Iowan and impacted families, businesses, schools, non-profit organizations, and government at all levels. One of the state’s most reliable partners in both responding to COVID-19 and serving Iowans every day is local government, our cities and counties. As someone who’s spent four times as a Clark County treasurer and worked in the office before that, I understand the importance of local and state government working together. I want to express my deepest gratitude to our local government officials as well as our public health and emergency management professionals throughout the 99 counties and our 944 cities in Iowa for the work that they’ve done since the start of COVID-19.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (15:53)
In county after county and city after city, you’ve been critical partners in our state response efforts, and I am so grateful for that, but as you’re well aware of, there is a cost to addressing the coronavirus. The federal CARES Act established the $150 billion coronavirus relief fund to help states, local and tribal governments navigate the impact of the pandemic. Iowa’s allocation from that appropriation was $1.25 billion and has and will help cover some of the significant and unexpected expenses due to the pandemic. So the allocations from the $1.25 billion have included relief to Iowa families and businesses, relief for Iowa farmers, expanding access to telework, telehealth, and telelearning with broadband expansion, and relief to Iowa healthcare providers including 30 million to our mental health regents. Today I am pleased to announce $125 million in federal CARES dollars will be allocated to help local governments for direct expenses incurred in response to COVID-19. $100 million in reimbursement will be divided between eligible cities and counties, 60% will go to cities, 40% to counties based on their population using the 2019 census data. The remaining $25 million will be used to cover local governments’ match requirements for FEMA, and I want to be clear that any unused funds will be reallocated to local governments on thee percentages listed above.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (17:36)
These funds can be used to reimburse for expenditures such as COVID-19 medical supplies and equipment, PPE, sanitizing products, testing supplies and ventilators, other COVID-19 expenses such as payroll costs for public health and public safety personnel, emergency staffing and overtime medical transportation. Cost associated with enhanced 211 service, technology expanses to allow local services to be provided remotely. I am pleased to be joined today by a couple of local government officials via WebEx to discuss how COVID-19 has impacted their city and county. So first, I think we have Mayor Porsch from Storm Lake. Mike.

Mike Porsch: (18:24)
Thank you Governor. I appreciate the opportunity to share how Storm Lake has navigated through the COVID pandemic. In Storm Lake, we’ve kind of gone through about three phases. Early on we did not have many cases in this part of the state while the eastern part of the state was seeing most of the pandemic, and then when we got toward the end of May and end of June, we got hit pretty hard in this area as we unfortunately became one of the hot spots in the entire nation at that time, but now we’re back. We’ve gone back down and are managing it quite well right at the moment.

Mike Porsch: (19:05)
Early on, as far as the city is concerned, we started a city business relief program where city council thought it was important and allocated $100,000.00 to businesses and to a grant program in our community, those businesses who had to close their doors at the time due to the virus and we were allocated the $100,000.00 to about 30 businesses in our community in a way for them to help manage some of their costs and expenses during that time. We also at that time opened our city-owned Kings Pointe Resort to some of the rooms and also our campgrounds to medical professionals who wished to quarantine while they were working at the hospital. With COVID patients, some of them did not want to run the risk of bringing that back home and they wanted to find a place to stay so we have some rooms at the resort and also some spots at the campground at no charge for those folks.

Mike Porsch: (20:07)
During our upswing, I thought our community really pulled together. I was impressed with the way the community pulled together. We had several food distributions in the community. The food was donated by citizens, the Iowa food banks, took advantage of those, and also Tyson Foods donated some food for the food banks, and those were all distributed by our local volunteers, so we had a lot of people step up to help out in that program, and we also had a mask distribution. A couple different times our public safety workers handed out masks to over … I think there was over 3,000 masks that were handed out into the community to folks, and those were all donated by community members who made them. Tyson Foods also donated some as did the Storm Lake Police Department Association. During this time we also had the Storm Lake School District, when school was closed down in the spring, they decided … They have so many kids that probably their best meal of the day is the one at school. They set up a bus route throughout the community where they had stops where they brought breakfast and lunch to students throughout the community and that program is still going during the summer here too, not quite to the level it was during the school year but they’re still bringing lunches out to students a couple times a week in the community.

Mike Porsch: (21:38)
The biggest thing I needed to stress was the cooperation and the planning that we had during the height of our pandemic here in Storm Lake. We had great cooperation and the planning with our BV County emergency management, the Buena Vista County Public Health, the Buena Vista County Regional Medical Center, Storm Lake School District and our own city public safety. Those folks really were working hard, were really stressed during that time and I just appreciate the communication that went on and all the hard work that went on to manage the pandemic in Storm Lake.

Mike Porsch: (22:16)
I guess as mayor, one of the things that I’m most proud of during this time was our essential workers. The healthcare workers that we had at the hospital, the doctors and the nurses, but not only those but the workers in our grocery stores and our food processing plants, we have two plants here in Storm Lake and the workers at those plants who persevered to the risk of their own health at times to maintain the food chain and the food distribution not only in Storm Lake but throughout the state and throughout the country as far as that goes. Then we also have many businesses who, some of them had to close down to start with and those that remained open and have opened up now have been just innovative in the way they’ve adapted their business to provide for our community and also to hopefully maintain some income for themselves. I think my take on the whole virus is that we had struggles but I feel the community really stepped up to help us through the situation. I think …

Mike Porsch: (23:23)
I also want to give thanks to the governor for the Test Iowa site we’ve had in Storm Lake since the middle of May and it is still here and it is going to be here through August at least I believe and it has really worked well. We would never have been able to get all the testing that we did in the community during the height, it was extremely important to have a Test Iowa site. It really helped us mitigate through the upswing and the cases here in our city and county. [inaudible 00:23:55] as far as the income and the losses and the cost that the city has acquired

Mike Porsch: (24:03)
And the losses and the cost that the city has inquired during the pandemic. I do appreciate the funding from the CARES Act that’s being distributed to the city. And I think I can not only speak for Storm Lake, but from every city and County in the state, this is going to be much appreciated to help cover some of those costs, as I’m sure we’re all looking forward as we go through our budgets here in this fiscal year, we’ll be having reduced funding due to the reduction of sales tax and the reduction of hotel motel tax. So this funding from this CARES Act is going to be very helpful. So thank you on that then I appreciate the support from the governor’s office. Thank you.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (24:43)
Thanks Mike. I appreciate that very much and really unprecedented level of coordination and collaboration from top to bottom. So it’s been great to see that.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (24:51)
Now we’re going to have an opportunity to hear from Burlin Matthews as the Clay County supervisor.

Burlin Matthews: (24:58)
Well, good morning Governor. And first of all, I’d like to thank you personally for allowing me to participate in today’s press conference. And secondly, as President of the Iowa State Association of Counties, I thank you on behalf of Iowa’s 99 counties for taking steps to address a significant financial impact COVID-19 has had on our County budgets. Expenditures by counties, in response to the pandemic starting in March of 2020, were obviously not in our budgets that the County has adopted in fiscal year 2021. Those were unplanned costs that we have, has a significant impact on our County budgets going forward. And you know from your own experience in budgeting as the County treasurer in Clark County, there are no extra monies in County budgets for nice things to have, County budgets really are bare bones budgets for necessities. So at the start of the pandemic in Iowa, Clay County and the City of Spencer organized a task force that meets at 4:30 every day and they discuss the current pandemic information.

Burlin Matthews: (26:08)
The task force is made up of public health, emergency management, two County supervisors, several individuals from the City of Spencer, the hospital administrator, and the school superintendent. Now as Clay County compiles its expenditures for the pandemic, the true financial picture will develop. However, as of yesterday, Clay County has expended $20,809.89 cents just to reopen our buildings after having been closed to the public.

Burlin Matthews: (26:43)
Additionally, the Iowa State Association of Counties surveyed 11 counties in Iowa, about two months ago, and the survey included a mixture of large and small counties. And the survey showed the total expenditures for COVID-19 response services in those 11 counties at that time was 5.8 million. And those expenditures were for a six week period from mid March to the end of April. I’ll give you an example of the expenditures for public health related activities in those counties range from a low in a small rural County of $3,606 to a high in a large metropolitan County of $300,000.

Burlin Matthews: (27:25)
It’s obvious from this survey, counties direct expenditures and response to the pandemic will be in the tens of millions of dollars. Everything with the COVID-19 response changes at a moment’s notice, as you know, and we are glad that you have expressed your willingness to be flexible when providing local government assistance. As we look to the future, we’ll certainly count on your administration for continued support as we open County courthouses for operations of services. And finally, the Iowa State Association of Counties, representing all 99 counties in Iowa, are extremely appreciative of the financial assistance you’re committing from the CARES Act to County governments across Iowa. We look forward to working with you, Governor Reynolds, as we respond to this health and fiscal crisis. Thank you so much.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (28:18)
Thanks Burlin. I appreciate your comments and Mike’s said both very much, and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that the process to request reimbursements and the process for payments will be online, transparent and as simple as possible for local government. So we’ll be working in the coming weeks with ISAC and the League of Cities to ensure the members are fully looped in on what they need to do to receive the funds as quickly as possible. And with that, I thank you for your patience. We’ll open it up for questions.

Speaker 2: (28:47)
I’m wondering if you could clarify, it appears that you are saying that schools who choose to instruct their students remotely at the beginning of the school year will have to make up that time at the end of the school year, and can you clarify that there will be no financial consequences for that decision on the part of school boards and school administrators?

Governor Kim Reynolds: (29:09)
Well, first of all, I am hoping that that doesn’t happen at all and we’re going to continue to work with the small number of schools again, and is less than five. We’re going to continue to do the outreach and to work with them and see if we can’t get them to comply. It is the law, it’s the statute. It passed unanimously. It is the expectations of the law. And if they fail to comply or follow the law, then the days when they’re not in compliance will not count towards the instructional time. And so it will have to be made up. School administrators may also be subject to a licensure discipline as well. And that’s within the law.

Caroline: (29:45)
You mentioned the law Senate file 2310, but in that law, it does give you the authorization in a order, a public health emergency, which we’re under right now to change that, to allow schools to move primarily online. So can you explain why you didn’t maybe grant more latitude for schools to make that choice because obviously you did have the authority to do that?

Governor Kim Reynolds: (30:09)
Well, Caroline, actually I did allow them a great deal of flexibility according to the statute. And my responsibility is to remain true to what their expectation was with the law. And so we provided flexibility to parents. If they have a child with underlying conditions or they feel that it’s in the child’s best interest, then the parent will make that decision to go to a hundred percent online. We have said that 50% or more of a class instruction needs to be in person, it needs to target on core subjects, but they have the opportunity to do a balance or to work within that with some remote learning as well. I believe, like many of the experts that I listed previously in my remarks, that the kids need to be in the classroom. We’ve worked with the Department of Public Health and the Department of Education, they’ve looked and provided guidance to the school districts.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (31:02)
As I indicated in my remarks, we are in a much better position than we were when schools were shut down. Kids have not had instruction for over five months. I think you’ve heard the CDC has said we’re going to see more problems from kids being isolated then from COVID. They need to be in school socially and emotionally. A lot of times that’s a safe learning environment for our children, it’s where they receive a hot meal. It’s where they receive physical education. That’s where they receive their behavioral health issues. As I said, our teachers are mandatory reporters and they identify, I think it was a study done in 2018, 15% of the child abuse cases were reported by our educators. And we haven’t had eyes on those kids for quite some time now. We can do this, the majority of the schools have done it, and it is in the best interest I believe. And I believe we can do it safely and responsibly for students, teachers, staff, and family.

Speaker 3: (32:11)
What is the basis for the 10 and 15% metrics? And what’s your response to people who say those numbers are too high?

Governor Kim Reynolds: (32:16)
Yeah. Dr. Pedadi, do you want to take the question on how we arrived at the 15%?

Dr. Pedadi: (32:24)
Yeah, so I think I would start by saying, when we look across the country and really across the world, finding a balance in how to bring students back to school safely is a goal that everybody is working on. And again, I think I would say that this is an example of a place where we continue to learn more and being flexible is really important. And I know that that’s challenging and it’s been challenging throughout this response. But I’d say that what we’ve done is provided a starting point. And we do that by looking at the trends that we’ve seen nationally, as well as here in Iowa, looking at some of our communities that have smaller populations and trying to keep in mind how those percentages translate into numbers. When there are smaller groups of people, smaller communities, as well as other things going on in the communities, for example, other people who might be affected in other settings, like long term cares or other congregate settings.

Dr. Pedadi: (33:27)
So we want to take all of that into consideration when we use something like a percent positivity. And again, I would emphasize this is a place where we need to be flexible and it’s a place where we’re going to continue to evolve as new information and new guidance and new science emerges. We also want to emphasize that we’re using that percentage in conjunction with continued case investigation and follow up for every single positive case. So that we’re understanding, not just what the activity is in a community, but also what’s going on with an individual, where we think they might have been exposed, who they think they might’ve been around, and making recommendations when we need to for quarantining or isolating students or staff regardless of the setting in which they’re exposed. So all of those things are going to continue to be important. And like I said, we’re going to continue to look at new evidence and adjust as we need to going forward.

Speaker 3: (34:26)
You emphasize flexibility, but not counting instructional days seems pretty rigid.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (34:32)
Well, no, we’ve given them plenty of flexibility. The law is the law and we expect our school districts to operate within the law. And that’s what it is. And so it has to be over 50% has to be in person. There’s some flexibility there and schools have been very innovative and creative and adaptable in the ways that they’ve approached this and they’re meeting the criteria. We also give flexibility to the parents if they make the decision to keep their child a hundred percent in remote learning. But there are consequences, like everything else to not following the law.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (35:06)
And I just want to reiterate what Dr. Pedadi said, as we’ve seen from the very beginning, this is a very fluid situation and things change and they have throughout the last four months and so we’ll continue to look at the new information we receive. We’ll continue to evaluate the procedures that we have in place. And all of us have to be flexible as we move forward. But I think we’re operating under the guidelines that we were given, and I agree with it. I think it is the right thing to do to get our kids back in school and that should be the goal, but we should make sure that we can do it safely and responsibly.

Speaker 4: (35:39)
Over the past few weeks, did you meet with Des Moines school district, any of the larger Des Moines Metro school districts, as you were formulating this guidance and if not, why not?

Governor Kim Reynolds: (35:51)
Well, so I’m meeting with Superintendent Ahart and the Urbandale team, I think today or tomorrow, but Director Leibow has done a ton of outreach, so has the Department of Public-

Governor Kim Reynolds: (36:03)
… Director [Liebow 00:36:01] has done a ton of outreach, so has the Department of Public Health. We constantly work with local public health providers, work with our school districts. When we gave the waiver to Urbandale, because when we released the additional guidance that we did, they were only two or three days away from starting. And so, in all fairness we said we would go ahead and grant the waiver for two weeks, with the expectation that you would start the preparation to meet what the statute says. And so, we took that into consideration. We granted the waiver with the expectation, and my legal team worked with theirs. And so, there has been and will continue to be communication.

Speaker 5: (36:42)
[crosstalk 00:36:42] But Des Moines seems to be.

Dave: (36:44)
I’ve listened into a couple of these school board meetings, and these are sincere, really concern. I mean, they’re worried. They’re scared that a teacher is going to die, or a child is going to get sick. Is it inevitable, do you think, that we’re going to see a child get sick? A teacher perhaps pass away? An older teacher die from this? And is it worth it?

Governor Kim Reynolds: (37:02)
This is part of the problem, the scare tactics that’s being laid out by the media. I’ve walked through the numbers [crosstalk 00:00:37:08].

Dave: (37:08)
I resent that you say that to me [crosstalk 00:37:09]. That is not [crosstalk 00:37:10] appropriate thing to say [crosstalk 00:37:10].

Governor Kim Reynolds: (37:11)
You just said it to me, that do I [crosstalk 00:37:14] responsible?

Dave: (37:14)
Question respectfully of you. I respect you and your position [crosstalk 00:01:17].

Governor Kim Reynolds: (37:17)
Respond … Thank you, Dave.

Dave: (37:18)
These are things that I just heard on school board videos [crosstalk 00:37:20].

Governor Kim Reynolds: (37:20)
Yeah, I’ve also heard from parents, I’ve also heard from single moms. I’ve also heard from moms who have children who have behavioral health issues. I’ve also heard about, also from all of those. So what we’re trying to do is to balance, to make sure that we can open safely and responsibly. And we have an obligation to these children. A lot of times it’s the underprivileged that are already left behind. It is the kids that are have struggling with disabilities, that are living in circumstances that are not very good. And those children will be continued to be left behind.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (37:57)
We’re going to see the gap continue to widen. They have been five months without any type of instruction. We have kids in daycare. We just completed a ball season, where evidently people were able to come together, some of these very schools. Urbandale High School just completed a successful baseball season. They went to state. They figured out a way to bring the kids together, and do it safely and responsibly. And even some of those ball teams, there were some positive cases.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (38:31)
So, it would be naive for us to think that at no point we’re not going to see positive cases in school districts. We’ve seen positive cases in longterm care facilities. I’ve seen elderly people die, because they’re the most vulnerable. Do you think as the governor I appreciate standing up here and reporting those out? We’re doing everything we can to make sure that we’re protecting the health and wellbeing of Iowans. But we also have to think about the whole child, and everything.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (38:59)
We have to think about their livelihoods as well. I mean, I got moms that are trying to work full-time and figure out what they’re going to do with the kids and a schedule that’s Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday one week, and it’s Tuesday and Thursday the next. How do you start to put together some stability with those kind of arrangements? And parents that are really fearful, they have the option to do a completely, 100% online learning. And I said last week too, I have grandchildren that are going back to school.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (39:29)
I would never do anything that would put them in harms way intentionally. I don’t think any of us would. I have a daughter who’s a teacher in a public school system, who’s teaching this summer and she’s expecting. She asked her physician, “What do you think?” So we have to make the best decisions that we can with the information that we have, and we have to do it safely and responsibly. And that’s what we’re trying to do every day. And I didn’t mean to accuse you of anything.

Dave: (39:59)
Thank you.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (39:59)
I didn’t, but it is, I’ve just, I want the media to give the numbers in context. Help us, because I think you’re a part of the solution. We all have to be a part of the solution. You can hold me accountable. You can ask me anything. That’s fine, it goes with being the governor. But also, we need to put the numbers into context. So when Iowans are out there, and there is so much anxiety about the uncertainty and what the expectations are, we need to help them walk through that, not escalate that anxiety. What we’re doing to these kids is unconscionable. The fear that we’re instilling in them. And so, I think we all have a responsibility to do better, including me, and we can, and I’m working on it every single day, because [crosstalk 00:40:49] come hell or high water, we’re going to get through this. And I don’t mean to filibuster. So, Dave.

Dave: (40:54)
Governor, the hospitalization rates, the daily rates are about twice what they were in late June. You have talked about that some of those would be elective surgeries. When you go in there, you get a COVID test. What are the numbers broken down by age, which the state collects for the rise? So to follow your point, as we try to tell this story we have been unable to get these numbers. So what are the age breakdowns of the people in the hospital?

Governor Kim Reynolds: (41:26)
So I think we’ve tried to get those numbers to, Dr. Pedati, correct me. Sometimes it’s hard in the way that the information is relayed, but did you hear the question? I don’t know if you’ve heard the question.

Dr. Pedadi: (41:39)
I did, and we are looking at ways to make that information more readily available as well. But I can tell you that we do look at ages, and we are still seeing mostly individuals who are older, or who have underlying conditions. But I think it’s an important point, and we are looking at ways to share that.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (42:00)
Does that answer your question? I mean, so I think it’s really important. We’re trying really hard to be as transparent as we can, Dave, with the information that we’re putting on the website. We will have the positivity rate per school district, the counties that are in it. I think our hope is to have the absentee is in numbers, because that’s a part of the decision moving forward.

Governor Kim Reynolds: (42:22)
So we’re trying to get that, and I think what I heard her say, is it’s been pretty consistent with what we’ve seen. A lot of the younger kids aren’t being hospitalized. It’s still the older adults. And the other thing is though, we’re not seeing the severity of the cases too, with Remdesivir and just some of the practices that they’ve been able to implement as we’ve learned more with the hospitalizations. So hopefully in the long run that would help with some better outcomes as well.

Speaker 6: (42:45)
Rachel, go ahead.

Rachel: (42:46)
Governor, this is Rachel with WOI. Will the 14 day rolling average use for schools include data from longterm care facilities? And also, there are studies coming out showing kids are in fact spreaders of COVID-19, which is different than what you said last week. So will this change what your school guidance is?

Governor Kim Reynolds: (43:07)
I don’t think it’ll change the school guidance. We’ll continue to watch it, as Dr. Pedati said, and we’ve said all along, we’ve got to be flexible as we learn more. I mean, we’re continually learning more and more. Household spread, I think is something that we’ve said all along. That’s where we tend to see a spread, but … And I don’t know what she asked. What did she ask about the longterm care?

Speaker 7: (43:29)
Will that be included in the 14 day average?

Governor Kim Reynolds: (43:31)
Yeah, it will. Right, Caitlin? Yeah.

Dr. Pedadi: (43:33)
Yes [inaudible 00:43:36].

Speaker 6: (43:39)
Rod [Beaushark 00:43:36], last question. Rod, [inaudible 00:43:39] right now.

Rod Beaushark: (43:41)
Yes, thank you. Governor, I assume since you’ve signed the Senate File 2310, that you agreed with its provisions. I was wondering, how does the state stepping in with guidelines for at least 50% in-person instruction jive with Iowa’s traditional local control, if the local districts choose to provide remote instruction only or a hybrid model of less than 50% in person instruction?

Governor Kim Reynolds: (44:08)
Well, the Senate file would over, would supersede the local control during the pandemic. So right now we’re bound by statute. I did sign it. It passed unanimously by the legislature, and it’s rare when a bill passes unanimously that … And I do support the legislation. So.

Speaker 6: (44:28)
Thanks everyone.

Transcribe Your Own Content

Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.