Opinion

Keeping pace with COVID-19 updates

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

As we continue on through this uncertain time with COVID-19, I receive a lot of questions. I am always happy to help sort through those issues on a case-by-case basis, but thought it might be helpful to include an update with the most frequently asked questions.

How can I get the most up-to-date COVID-19 information?

On April 14, Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Public Health released an additional coronavirus dashboard to provide even more data to Iowans during this public health emergency. Visit the website at coronavirus.iowa.gov.

The dashboard contains county specific information showing the number of confirmed cases, total deaths, total people tested, and total cases recovered. This information is based on the county of residence of the individuals tested.

If you scroll toward the top of the dashboard, there are additional tabs that will direct you to demographic information on the individuals with confirmed cases (age, gender, race, ethnicity), long-term care facility outbreaks, and lab testing (including positive and negatives).

The dashboard also contains up-to-date information showing Governor Reynold's data driven approach to determining what mitigation strategies and resources are needed throughout the state. On one tab, you can see Iowa's epidemiological curve, which shows the progression of cases and deaths over time in the state. DPH does note in the dashboard, "because of the incubation period and how long a person is infectious, it will take some time to observe the impact of mitigation strategies."

The last two tabs on the dashboard show regional specific information showing at the regional level:

Number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients

Number of COVID patients admitted to the hospital in the last 24 hours

Number of COVID patients in ICU

Number of patients on ventilators

Total inpatient beds

Total ICU beds available

Number of ventilators available

Each region's assessment score.

It is important to note while reviewing this information for your county and region, that even if your area seems to not have many cases, you should still follow the public health mitigation strategies recommended by the governor and DPH. Even if someone has previously tested negative, they could still test positive at a future date.