Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds opened her May 11 press conference by noting she will be on a “modified quarantine plan” after a staff member of Vice President Mike Pence tested positive for COVID-19.
Reynolds was at the White House on Wednesday, May 6, and met with Pence in Iowa on Friday, May 8, along with religious leaders and others to discuss Iowa’s “reopening” efforts.
“I want to assure Iowans that I’m healthy and feeling good, and I’m fully focused on leading Iowa’s response to the pandemic on our economic recovery efforts,” she said, adding that she was not in direct contact with the vice president’s staff member who tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, the day Pence traveled to Iowa. The staff member was at the White House during Reynolds’ visit on Wednesday.
Reynolds did not wear a face mask, but said she had one available.
“It’s important that I do my part to protect those around me,” she said, noting that she will practice social distancing, have her temperature taken frequently and do some of her work from home. “If I begin experiencing any symptoms, of course, I’ll stay home.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others.
“Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms,” according to the CDC. “People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department.”
Reynolds has been able to receive daily testing for the coronavirus and have results available within 10 minutes, a stark contrast to the days it takes for Iowans to receive test results.
She acknowledged that a “small number” of Test Iowa samples were damaged over the weekend, and encouraged Iowans whose tests were damaged to be retested.
Reynolds did not release the numbers of new cases and deaths in Iowa, but the state’s website notes that Iowa has had a total of 12,373 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Monday, May 11, and 271 Iowans have died.
At the same time, Reynolds indicated that some of the state’s emergency health measures would be allowed to expire this Friday, May 15, and others would be extended through the end of the month. That announcement is expected Tuesday.
When asked by a reporter how Iowans can feel confident returning to work when even the White House is seeing coronavirus cases, Reynolds cited the increasing opportunities for Iowans to get tested.
“We could never guarantee that Iowans wouldn’t get it,” she said.