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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

'You can't just look at a map and assume no action has been taken': Gov. Reynolds defends COVID-19 response

699 Iowans have tested positive for the coronavirus, with negative tests totaling 8,764 as of Friday morning.

JOHNSTON, Iowa — Gov. Kim Reynolds defended her administration's COVID-19 response and her decision not to issue a statewide shelter-in-place order Friday as positive tests in Iowa reached 699.

Negative tests totaled 8,764 as of Friday morning. No additional deaths were reported Friday morning, keeping the state's total at 11.

While Reynolds told reporters that many Iowans are either "strongly in favor or strongly opposed" regarding a statewide shelter-in-place order, her response to the virus' spread has been proactive and aggressive.

"You can't just look at a map and assume that no action has been taken," Reynolds said in response to Dr. Anthony Fauci's statement that every state should have a shelter-in-place order.

Most businesses have been ordered closed through April 30—restaurants and bars are able to offer carry-out, delivery and drive-thru options—based on a Thursday emergency health proclamation

School districts have been recommended to remain closed through the end of April as well.

The same proclamation prohibits gatherings of 10 or more people.

Reynolds believes such steps have kept Iowa safe and curbed some of the need for a statewide shelter order.

"We were ahead of many states in our response efforts and we continue to dial up our mitigation efforts," Reynolds said.

Reynolds stated that "80 to 81" percent of Iowa's workforce could be considered essential. She also noted an order requiring people to stay inside could impact Iowans' mental health.

"You have to talk about mental well-being," Reynolds said. "We are a connected community. We work ... there's just that of it as well. In addition to suicides and domestic abuse, there are a lot of downsides to [a shelter-in-place order] as well."

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Reynolds also said she is interested in reading a letter from the Iowa Board of Medicine, who voted Friday morning to urge the governor to issue a shelter-in-place order.

"This morning, the Iowa Board of Medicine held an emergency teleconference where they unanimously voted to send the governor a letter asking her to issue a shelter in place order due to the COVID-19 pandemic," Iowa Board of Medicine Executive Director Kent Nebel told Local 5 in a statement. "Their goal in doing this is to protect the public, health care providers on the front lines and maintain an adequate stock of PPE."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends frequent hand washing, avoiding close contact and staying home if you are sick as main areas of focus for prevention and containment of COVID-19.

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