Iowa hit a record number of single-day coronavirus deaths on Wednesday, April 29, 2020.
Twelve Iowans were reported to have died of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
Previously, the state saw its single highest number of deaths — 11 — on April 24. The total number of Iowa COVID-19 deaths in the past four weeks now stands at 148.
Governor Kim Reynolds at her daily press conference Wednesday noted that most of the deaths have been older Iowans or those with pre-existing conditions. Linn County has reported the most deaths, at 40, with many of those tied to outbreaks at long-term care centers.
Earlier this week, Reynolds waived the regulation prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more people for religious services throughout Iowa as of May 1, but gave a mixed message by saying vulnerable Iowans should continue to stay home.
When asked by a reporter if she would be attending church services or a farmers market this weekend — farmers markets also are allowed to open in Iowa — Reynolds stammered.
“You know, I don’t know,” she said, then added that her church is conducting online services, “so that’s probably what we’ll continue to do.”
“Isn’t it a wonderful thing?” Reynolds said. “It’s not a mandate; it’s an option.”
On Saturday, April 25, the Iowa Department of Public Health was notified of 648 additional positive cases of COVID-19, the highest reported on a single day in the state, surpassing the record 521 new cases the previous day.
By Wednesday, April 29, with 467 new cases, Iowa had recorded 6,843 total positive cases of COVID-19. Reynolds on Wednesday reported a 35 percent recovery rate for coronavirus patients.
Reynolds pushed back when asked why she didn’t wait on lifting restrictions for two more weeks to help prevent further deaths, as recommended in a report from the University of Iowa.
“I wouldn’t have moved forward if I didn’t think we were ready,” she said, pointing to Iowans applying for unemployment claims among factors in her decision. “I didn’t just rip the band-aid off or flip the light switch. I believe in Iowans and I know they’ll do the responsible thing.”
Iowans who don’t return to work if their business reopens may be ineligible for unemployment benefits, even if they believe their lives or the lives of others in their homes are at-risk if they return.
Neither Reynolds nor Deputy Director Sarah Reisetter of the Iowa Department of Public Health answered questions regarding when Iowa is expected to hit its coronavirus peak. Reisetter last week said the peak is expected in two to three weeks.