Opinion

Trending in a positive direction

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

If you watch the news or look at social media each day, it can get pretty daunting. It can be a heavy weight. While some choose to focus on the negative impacts of COVID-19, many of the positive trends are largely being ignored.

When looking at the unprecedented amount of data and information that the state is providing to Iowans, it is important to remember to not to look at one single day to measure the impact that COVID-19 has had. That is simply a snapshot in time. To truly measure the impacts and see trends, you need to look at more than a single metric.

Here are some of the positive trends that should provide Iowans with some optimism moving forward.

Testing in Iowa has increased significantly

As of May 19, more than 100,000 Iowans have been tested for COVID-19 and over the last several weeks, testing has significantly ramped up. Much of this is due to the TestIowa initiative. Since TestIowa began, more than 460,000 Iowans have completed the online assessment to see if they qualify for COVID testing.

From April to May, average daily testing has more than doubled. During the month of April, an average of 1,400 Iowans were being tested each day compared to 3,142 per day so far in May.

Daily positive cases are decreasing

On April 30, the three-day rolling average for daily positive cases reached its highest point. As of May 18, the three-day rolling average for daily positive cases have decreased by 61%. Over the same time, the 14-day rolling average has seen a decrease in daily positive tests by 28%. This is all occurring while testing has increased.

Hospitalizations are beginning to stabilize

Another positive sign is that the number of Iowans who have been hospitalized by COVID-19 has been stabilizing in recent weeks. In addition, the number of critically ill Iowans who require intensive care is following a similar pattern. Our thoughts and prayers are with these fellow Iowans as they fight COVID-19. We also appreciate the hard work and dedication of Iowa's front-line health care workers who have been working keep us and our loved ones safe and healthy.

These downward trends indicate that the curve is flattening. Much of this is due to the individual efforts that Iowans took to practice personal responsibility and help slow the spread.

Iowa's health care system has not been stressed or overburdened

One of the biggest reasons Gov. Reynolds moved to implement COVID-19 mitigation efforts was to prevent Iowa's healthcare system from becoming overburdened and crashing. Preventing an overburdened health care system ensures that Iowans can get in and be treated as quickly as possible to prevent unnecessary deaths.

Since the pandemic began in March, Iowa's hospitals and health care providers have stepped up to the challenge and Iowans have gotten the care they need. As of May 18, 45% of Iowa's inpatient beds remain available (approximately 3,660), as well as 79% of Iowa's ICU bed capacity (464 of 590). Ventilators also remain in ample supply, with just 83 being utilized and 734 still available.

What can Iowans do moving forward?

While many of these metrics are showing positive signs, we need to continue to practice social and physical distancing. Iowans should continue to be vigilant to protect their health. Iowans are strong and always up for a challenge.