Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) wrote to Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds asking her to issue a statewide ‘stay-at-home’ order to help protect the health and safety of all Iowans during this ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
In her letter, Congresswoman Axne cites recent predictions by the Iowa Department of Public Health of a nearing first ‘peak’ of COVID-19 cases and the extension of nationwide social distancing guidance as reasons for needing a new statewide mandate.
“A ‘peak’ in cases coming in a matter of weeks confirms the necessity of more compulsory restrictions,” Rep. Axne wrote. “It is time to implement a statewide stay-at-home order.”
Rep. Axne recognizes the steps taken by Governor Reynolds and the State of Iowa to slow the spread of coronavirus in Iowa, but believes that additional measures should be considered as Iowa’s health systems begin to feel the increased strain of the outbreak.
“You and I are both fully aware of the stories of shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other critical medical supplies in our state,” Rep. Axne wrote. “If the state’s public health experts are predicting an imminent spike already, why then would we not consider a step that would keep all but the most essential workers at home to avoid deepening these shortages over the next month?”
The full text of the letter can be found below:
Dear Governor Reynolds,
I am writing to express my concern regarding the deepening consequences of the coronavirus outbreak in Iowa. While I am grateful for your efforts and the efforts of the State of Iowa to mitigate the burden of this crisis, the Department of Public Health’s prediction of a ‘peak’ in cases coming in a matter of weeks confirms the necessity of more compulsory restrictions. It is time to implement a statewide stay-at-home order.
The past few days have brought the hardest news so far of this pandemic in Iowa. We’ve lost six of Iowa’s own and seen rising confirmations of cases – quadrupling Iowa’s totals in a week. While this rise does also reflect the increase in available testing, it does not diminish the clarity provided by the climbing tolls. This virus is ravaging our nation’s health systems, and Iowa is no exception.
As you’ve noted in your public availabilities and in our conversations, the steps already taken by your office will help slow the spread of this disease. But as the President extends nationwide social distancing guidance until the end of April, and nearby states take steps to more drastically limit residents from leaving their homes, Iowa also needs to take the strongest possible approach to control further transmission.
A stay-at-home order will require, instead of simply recommending, one of the best possible methods that Iowa families can employ to help stop the spread of coronavirus. In my conversations with public health experts across my district, their advice also confirms that such an order would help reduce the burden that further hospitalizations would put on Iowa’s hospitals and health care professionals.
Nearly 20% of Iowa’s citizens are over the age of 65, making Iowa particularly vulnerable to cases of coronavirus that will lead to hospitalizations – which could overwhelm our health systems. You and I are both fully aware of the stories of shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other critical medical supplies in our state. If the state’s public health experts are predicting an imminent spike already, why then would we not consider a step that would keep all but the most essential workers at home to avoid deepening these shortages over the next month?
By not employing every tool in our arsenal to slow the spread of this virus – especially those that would simply codify what our offices have been recommending already – we risk elongating the time that our schools, businesses, and flagship events will have to remain closed. Iowa’s workers, business owners, farmers, teachers, and next generation of citizens cannot afford that.
I know that your work in this matter takes the health and safety of Iowa families seriously, and that your policies have been made within constant reevaluations of the reality on the ground. As a spike in cases in Iowa looms, I ask you that you reconsider issuing a stay-at-home order. It will protect the health and well-being of our families, save lives, and protect our state’s future prosperity.
I am committed to working with you to secure any and all resources available to our state during this crisis. I’m confident that those resources, coupled with the right policies and the resiliency of our citizens, will carry us through this crisis.
Member of Congress