Reynolds warns patients may be turned away from hospitals if Covid surge continues


More than 3,000 Iowa nursing home residents have Covid and there were a record 1,190 Covid patients in Iowa hospitals last night.

Hospital officials say this surge threatens to overwhelm the system. Governor Kim Reynolds warns rationed care is on the horizon if coronavirus cases continue to spike here.

“This situation has the potential to impact any Iowan who may need care for any reason, whether for Covid-19 or for any other serious medical condition,” she said Tuesday, “and we don’t want anyone to be turned away from our hospitals.”

The U.S. set a record overnight for the number of patients hospitalized due to Covid. Two percent of those patients were in Iowa hospitals, while the entire state accounts for a little less than one percent of the U.S. population.

“We can’t continue to see the number of individuals hospitalized,” Reynolds said. “It is about workforce and it’s about capacity.”

The two week average in Iowa for deaths from Covid is at the highest point during the pandemic. On Tuesday, the state reported 4,428 Iowans had tested positive for the virus in the past 24 hours. That is 460 more than were reported in the entire state of New York yesterday. Reynolds is asking Iowans to spend as little time outside their homes as possible.

“As I said last week, these trends cannot continue,” Reynolds said, “and it’s critical that all Iowans do everything within their power to stop the spread of the virus now.”

During a news conference on Tuesday, Reynolds asked to Iowans cancel or postpone parties and get-togethers and avoid situations where others are not following pandemic basics, like wearing a mask.

“We all have to buckle down and take this serious,” Reynolds said. “It spreads. It’s very contagious and so we all need to do our part.”

In addition to a new public health proclamation that requires masks be worn in some group settings, Reynolds is now limiting the size of crowds at high school events, like band concerts, basketball games, wrestling matches. Each student participating will be allowed to have just two people in the crowd. Reynolds has stopped short of a mask mandate for schools, however. About 60 percent of Iowa districts require masks inside schools.

The president of the Iowa State Education Association said the governor’s latest public health proclamation does nothing to stop the spread of Covid in schools.  Iowa House Democratic Leader Todd Prichard of Charles City called the governor’s proclamation: “too little, too late.”

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