Gov. Reynolds addresses additional COVID-19 cases, concern for abuse and neglect at home


The Office of the President releases new information regarding masks, vaccinations and how the fall 2021 semester will look.

Alexander Gray

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced at her press conference today 96 new positive cases of COVID-19 in Iowa, bringing the total to 1,995 cases. 

Four additional deaths have been reported, including one elderly adult in Polk County, one elderly adult in Clayton County, one older adult in Allamakee County, one older adult in Johnson County for a total of 53 deaths in Iowa.

908 Iowans have recovered from the virus for a recovery rate of 46 percent. 407 negative cases were reported for a total of 17,874. 3048 tests are available state-wide. No new counties reported cases of the virus. Reynolds said she believes one in 160 Iowans have been tested for the virus.

Additional information about cases by region can be found at

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) confirmed an outbreak at a long-term care facility at the Wilton Retirement Community in Muscatine County, bringing the total of long-term care facility outbreaks to seven. More than 10 percent of Iowa’s total positive cases and 49 percent are related to long-term care outbreaks.

Reynolds said all deaths in Iowa were among older or elderly individuals and those with underlying health conditions.

The IDPH is sending testing supplies to the Wilton Retirement Community so additional individuals can be tested. They are also sending an additional 900 tests to the Tyson Foods processing plant in Louisa county, in addition to the 200 tests sent last week. 

Reynolds said the state has reached out to the 18 packing and processing plants in Iowa to provide testing the companies need to protect their employees and continue to protect food supply to Iowans and the rest of the country.

As of April 14, across all of Iowa’s Regional Medical Coordination Center regions, there were 171 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, 20 were admitted in the last 24 hours, 78 patients are being treated in ICUs and 43 are on ventilators. In hospitals across the state, there are 7930 inpatient beds, 533 ICU beds and 718 ventilators available for patient care.

Among food insecurities and other unintended consequences of Iowa’s mitigation efforts, Reynolds addressed abuse and neglect at the press conference.

“At a time when it’s critical that Iowans stay home as much as possible to prevent being exposed to the virus or exposing others, we must also recognize that home is not a safe place for Iowans,” Reynolds said.

Data from past disasters shows physical and sexual abuse, as well as domestic violence and substance abuse increases with the stress on families in these types of circumstances, according to Reynolds. She said anecdotal evidence from across the country points to abuses going unnoticed.

“With schools out, children are separated from the teachers and caregivers who might see the signs and report them,” Reynolds said.

The Director of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS), Kelly Garcia, said many Iowans may be finding themselves in need of DHS’ medical, food or economic services for the first time. Garcia said DHS prepared for this situation before it impacted Iowa by assessing their emergency response protocols and working with community partners. 

“We need to support these families and those individuals who live in the margins and we’re doing everything we can on our team to ensure access to our critical supports for Iowans who depend on us,” Garcia said. 

Garcia highlighted some of these efforts. DHS has removed barriers for Medicaid and food assistance, suspended all premiums and copays, expanded telehealth and are working to give access to COVID-19 to those who are uninsured. They are also working on expanded behavioral health supports. All of DHS’ resources can be found at their website.

Abuse reports have dropped in Iowa, according to Garcia, but she said she does not believe abuses have gone away, just the reports. DHS is working closely with the Department of Education, encouraging “comfort calls” to check on students.

“We’re also putting out the call to [communities] and all Iowans, if you hear something or see something, say something,” Garcia said.