Reynolds reports vaccines for long term care facilities by the end of the month


Gov. Kim Reynolds passed a bill banning mask mandates in the state of Iowa.

Katherine Kealey

Iowa is expected to begin vaccinations in long term care facilities as early as Dec. 28 Gov. Kim Reynolds said during her weekly press conference Wednesday. 

Pending on authorization, state officials reported could receive up to 172,000 vaccines by the end of December. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends early vaccine doses are utilized for health care workers and long term care facilities’ residents and staff.

The state will also be providing a 30 day supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including masks, gowns and gloves to Iowa’s 432 facilities to support Iowa’s enhanced protection protocol. This will come at no cost to the facilities.

The state also secured contract nurses from across the country to temporarily work in Iowa hospitals in need of staffing.More than 80 nurses will have started by the end of the week and expect over 100 nurses to start by the end of December.

“It will help ensure we are prepared to handle any increase in hospitalizations that could occur during the holidays,” Reynolds said. 

An additional 200 contact tracer case investigators will be providing aid to the state doing case investigations for 65 of Iowa’s 99 counties. Iowa’s Emergency disaster proclamation is set to expire Dec. 10, was extended by Reynolds until Dec. 16 with slight changes.

Organized sports and recreational events resume for youth and adults but spectators are limited to two per participant which extends to high school sporting events. The last call for in-person service for bars, restaurants and casinos will be at 10 p.m. 

While making these changes, Reynolds remains committed to getting kids back to school for the spring semester and said schools are not a primary drive in the spread of COVID-19.

“The CDC said in fact schools are the place for kids to be and school closures can have a negative effect on their health, wellbeing and development,” Reynolds said. 

Reynolds said Iowa has made good progress as it sees a slow downward trend in positivity rates and hospitalizations. 

“It is critical that these trends continue throughout this month and that we continue to reduce the number even further,” Reynolds said. “We have made good progress over the course of a week but our ultimate goal is to get virus activity to a level we can manage over the next few months.”