Reynolds ‘laying in wait’ for virus updates but she won’t return to announcing daily case numbers

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to the press during the daily COVID-19 news conference on May 20, 2020, at the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston, Iowa. (Photo by Kelsey Kremer/Pool, The Des Moines Register)

Iowans who are closely watching the state’s COVID-19 website for data on cases in their area will have to take a break over the Memorial Day weekend as the site goes down for maintenance.

Gov. Kim Reynolds said Friday her office will provide updates over the weekend but the website will not be updated until 6 a.m. Monday.

Reynolds said she’s also intensely tracking reports, such as hospitalization rates.

“I know I’m laying in wait for that report to come in about three o’clock every day,” she said.

However, Reynolds resisted returning to her previous practice of reporting COVID-19 case data and deaths at her daily news conferences. The media are announcing the numbers every day, she said.

“Before I come into the press conference, I get alert after alert from the media,” she said. “But you can’t, you can’t just focus on one thing.”

She said the number of positive tests is a reflection of the volume of testing. “So our positive numbers are going to continue to go up, but we need to look at the trends and we need to look at the positivity rates,” she said.

Reynolds said it’s now taking 23 days for the state to double its positive cases “which really speaks to the spread of the virus. So that’s a really positive number.”

As of Friday at 1 p.m., 16,435 people had tested positive for COVID-19 to date. A total of 400 were reported positive on Thursday. A total of 424 people with the virus had died to date as of midday Friday. That’s an increase of 20 deaths from Thursday.

A total of 120,505 Iowans had been tested as of midday Friday. Thursday’s total was 4,566 people tested. A total of 13.7% of tests have been positive to date; 8.8% of Thursday’s tests were positive.