DES MOINES, Iowa — Thursday, an additional 34 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Iowa, bringing the total of positive cases in the state to 179.
To date, 2,975 people tested negative in Iowa.
More non-essential businesses ordered to close
Gov. Kim Reynolds expanded her Public Health Disaster Emergency proclamation Thursday.
"Effective at 10 p.m. today, all existing closures, including restaurants and bars, will now be extended another week until April 7," Reynolds said.
In addition to extending existing closures, Reynolds ordered several more nonessential businesses to shutter.
A complete list of closures that are in effect in Iowa until April 7 include:
- Restaurants and bars
- Clothing stores
- Shoe Stores
- Jewelry stores
- Luggage stores
- Cosmetic, beauty or perfume stores
- Furniture and home furnishing stores
- Fitness Centers
- Swimming pools
- Medical spas
- Tattoo establishments
- Tanning facilities
- Massage therapy establishments
- Casinos and gaming facilities
- Senior citizen centers and adult day care facilities
- Mass gatherings (social, community, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings and events of more than 10 people)
Thursday's proclamation also suspended elective and nonessential medical and dental procedures.
"These actions will help us preserve the personal protective equipment as well as our health care workforce," Reynolds said.
Right now, there is no official order telling Iowans to stay home if they don't have essential business to attend to outside of their homes. Some states with such orders are calling those shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders.
Thursday, Reynolds clarified that local governments can't issue their own shelter orders.
"Right now, it appears that they do not have the authority to issue a shelter-in-place order," Reynolds said.
Reynolds said her team is assessing outbreak levels both statewide and regionally and will make recommendations based on what data is showing them. That could mean adding more restrictions, extending existing restrictions or lifting restrictions.
Iowans file 'unprecedented' number of unemployment claims
Thursday, Reynolds announced 40,952 Iowans applied for unemployment benefits between March 15 and March 21.
Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend said the majority of claims made last week were paid out within seven to 10 days.
She said the industries with the most COVID-19-related claims in that time period were as followed:
- Accommodation and food services: 13,000 claims
- Health care and social assistance: 5,000 claims
- Education services: 2,600 claims
- Other professional and personal services: 2,000 claims
- Retail: 1,700 claims
"The numbers we're seeing now are unprecedented but not unexpected," Reynolds said. "In Iowa and states across the country, we have intentionally dialed up some business sectors, dialed some business sectors back as part of our COVID-19 mitigation plans. I know that these decisions have an impact on families and businesses, which is why we also have worked very hard to put in place measures that would assist business owners, individuals and families who have been directly impacted by the orders."
Reynolds said Iowa paid $10.6 million for claims paid out in the week ending on March 20.
Under the federal stimulus bill being considered in Washington, D.C., many more people may be eligible for unemployment soon.
"Under the verbiage in the Senate Bill that was passed last night, we would also be waiving the minimum amount of wages in order to qualify for unemployment," Townsend said. "If you're self-employed, you work for a non-profit, you're an independent contractor, you would also be eligible for unemployment under the stimulus bill."
That bill is scheduled to be voted on in the House Friday. President Donald Trump has already said he'll sign it.
One in four Iowans with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are hospitalized, but there's a reason for that
Nationally, a CDC study found 20-31% of people with COVID-19 in the U.S. were hospitalized.
In Iowa, 26% of people with COVID-19 are or have been hospitalized as of Thursday evening.
Of the 179 patients that have tested positive for the virus in Iowa, 46 spent time in the hospital.
"Our testing criteria has been focused on hospitalized patients, at least that's one of the categories by which people can attain a test of public health significance at the state hygienic lab," said Sarah Reisetter, deputy director of the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Iowa's hospitalization rate may shrink as tests become more widely available.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends frequent hand washing, avoiding close contact with others and staying home if you are sick as main areas of focus for prevention and containment of COVID-19.