SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – As COVID-19 cases continue to go up nationwide, Iowa remains one of five states–along with Nebraska and South Dakota–without a stay-at-home order.
“It is a very fluid situation. It is being looked at, and decisions are being made when they need to be made,” Rebecca Socknat with Woodbury County Emergency Management said.
Although she has not issued a statewide order, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says she could place more restrictions on heavily-impacted parts of the state.
Reynolds released documents earlier this week detailing the state benchmarks officials are using to judge the severity of COVID-19 in Iowa.
Those benchmarks are part of a points system taking into account age, population, long-term care facility outbreaks, and how many cases require hospitalization. Each category is worth a possible three points.
As of April 1st, over 63 percent of COVID-19 patients in Iowa did not require hospitalization, making it just one of the contributing factors keeping Reynolds from issuing a mandate.
“As long as those measures are working, and Iowans are following that throughout the state and in Woodbury County, that’s all we can really ask for folks to do,” Socknat said.
Both Socknat and Tyler Brock with Siouxland District Health tell KCAU 9 despite no stay-at-home orders issued for now, that doesn’t mean Iowa officials aren’t already setting strict guidelines.
“The things that we’re doing now in some respects are even more stringent,” Brock said.
“The Governor has a lot of extremely intelligent people working for her, providing her with the information that’s being requested, and information that’s needed in order to make decisions,” Socknat said.
Brock says while the system provides a good baseline, the benchmarks are only part of what is being taken into consideration, adding the virus doesn’t respect county lines.
“When we create artificial boundaries, we’re really just making an educated estimate with those kinds of things to see if that would be an effective way of doing it. But again, what’s happening over in the eastern half of the state right now–there’s really no reason to think that it can’t hit a little bit higher in Western Iowa,” Brock said.