CLINTON — Iowa’s Gov. Kim Reynolds on Friday defended her stance against ordering a “shelter in place” mandate as reporters in the room and on a conference call continued pressing about her decision not to close down the state.
The governor, defiant at times, stood her ground on her choice and grew emotional as she talked about the difficult decisions she has already made as she works to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
As of Friday, Iowa reported 56 additional positive cases of Iowans – including one case in Clinton County – for a total of 235 positive cases. Additionally, two Iowans with COVID-19 died Thursday night, one elderly adult (81+ years) from Poweshiek County and one older adult (61-80 years) from Allamakee County. This brings the total COVID-19 related deaths in Iowa to three.
Across the Mississippi River in Illinois, Whiteside County reported its second case Friday; Carroll County announced its first.
“You know, Iowans are scared, and they’re nervous,” Reynolds said as her voice cracked and she held back tears. “And I appreciate that, but we’re going to get through it. And if you keep doing what we’ve asked you to do, we will be back to those good days. So hang in there.”
Reynolds says there is no reason to order Iowans to stay at home, because her current proclamations have already shut down nonessential businesses. Additionally, the governor referenced Minnesota’s order, citing that it does not include the majority of the workforce, so it is almost counterproductive. But reporters continued to press Reynolds, asking if her proclamations are equivalent to shelter in place then why not call them that. Reynolds says it is not necessary.
“It’s not consistent across the state,” Reynolds said. “And there’s no reason for me to do that. We have taken measures that we have based on the data that the Department of Public Health has provided for me. I’m going to continue to operate in that manner. So I’m not just reacting.”
Reynolds says she must base her decisions solely on data and the needs of her state. She says she listens to what other governors are doing across the country but says New York’s situation is not the same as Iowa’s.
Reynolds mentioned it is very hard for her to make choices that are causing small businesses to lose money and put families in jeopardizing situations. At the same time, she says that as the leader of the state, she must take action to flatten the curve.
“As the governor of this state, I can assure you the last thing I want to issue is an order that shuts down a business and puts families and individuals that are the backbone of our economy at risk,” Reynolds said.
The governor says she does not come to these decisions lightly and will base her guidance and orders off the metrics.