The US now leads the world in confirmed cases of the coronavirus, COVID-19. Yet, Governor Kim Reynolds anticipates that “Iowa will be open for business” after Easter, including opening schools.
It is concerning that Governor Reynolds does not appear to understand the grave impact this virus is having in other states. As a registered nurse, I find the minimal efforts taken by our Governor alarming. The impact of a surge in cases has the potential to devastate Iowa’s hospitals, but Governor Reynolds seems reluctant to take the proper steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Patients that experience significant symptoms of coronavirus need specialized care, often requiring the use of a ventilator. There are currently only 280 ventilators available and not currently being used in Iowa. This ventilator shortage is reaching crisis levels. Many states are begging the president for help; however, he has chosen to leave it to private industry despite the fact they won’t be available for delivery for months. Of Iowa’s 99 counties, 69 do not have ICU care beds.
We have the opportunity to slow this surge and allow our facilities to properly care for our state’s residents. In order to do this, though, our governor needs to be proactive and issue an order for Iowans to shelter in place before it is too late and our hospitals are overloaded with patients and we run out of the lifesaving ventilators and ICU beds we have.