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'I have to balance a lot': Reynolds' trust in Iowans questioned as hospitalizations spike

The Iowa Department of Public Health reports 97 Iowans were admitted to a hospital in the last 24 hours. April 21 previously held the highest admissions with 70.

JOHNSTON, Iowa — Gov. Kim Reynolds continued to defend her decision to not issue a statewide mask mandate at her Wednesday coronavirus press conference, citing her trust in Iowans.

Again, the governor was asked about her stance on issuing a statewide mask mandate, and she again said she will not order one. 

"I have confidence in Iowans. We have processes in place. We are monitoring our businesses and our healthcare facilities to make sure that they're doing the infection control practices to make sure that our businesses are adhering," Reynolds said.

This comes as hospitalizations, cases and deaths in the state continue to rise. 

Dave Pitt, a reporter with the Associated Press, questioned the governor's decision to not go through with a mask mandate, where he said "talking isn't working."

"And you know what? You want to talk about the people that are dying because they delayed care? Do you want to talk about the suicides that have ticked up? Do you want to talk about the kids that aren't in school?" Reynolds snapped back. 

"You know, we are doing a lot. And I'm proud of how, what we're doing, and you know what? Any death is one too many, and it's heart-wrenching to see the numbers. But I have to balance a lot," Reynolds said. 

The governor praised her team's response to the pandemic, again citing that she wants to protect the livelihoods of Iowans. 

Iowa hit a low in hospitalizations towards the end of June, however, over the last two months, more and more Iowans are being hospitalized due to the virus. 

Credit: WOI
A look at total Iowans hospitalized from August 1 to October 6.

As of 9 a.m. Wednesday, a total of 444 Iowans are in the hospital. Of those, 104 are in the intensive care unit (ICU) and 42 are on ventilators.

Reynolds said healthcare providers have assured her team that they are able to manage capacity levels and are equipped with the resources they need to treat coronavirus patients. 

"The unprecedented coordination and collaboration between our healthcare systems has really been impressive," Reynolds said, "and it is allowing us to manage these increased numbers."

The governor noted that the previous high for total hospitalizations was 417. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) confirmed that was on May 6. Reynolds attributed most of those cases to long-term care and manufacturing facilities. 

There were 28 long-term care outbreaks recorded on May 6, but Wednesday there were 54. Why were more long-term care cases hospitalized then? It's because the standard of care has changed over time.

Amy McCoy with the IDPH confirmed this information Wednesday with Local 5. Most residents that test positive for the virus now are treated at their facility. More were sent to hospitals back in May because that was the best treatment available. 

Reynolds said Wednesday that because the way the virus is treated has changed, those that are hospitalized now most likely caught the virus through community spread. 

ABC News has also obtained the latest White House Coronavirus Task Force report.

The report, dated Oct. 4, says for the week of Sept. 26 through Oct. 2, on average, 60 patents with confirmed COVID-19 and 37 patients with suspected COVID-19 were reported as newly admitted each day to Iowa hospitals.

The first recommendation on the report says community spread "has remained high across the state for the past month, with many preventable deaths." 

More than 1,400 Iowans have lost their lives to COVID-19. 

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