Gov. Kim Reynolds heads to White House to brief president on Iowa's pandemic response
Gov. Kim Reynolds will fly to Washington, D.C., this week to meet with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to discuss Iowa's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m going to give them an update on how we’re doing in Iowa," Reynolds said at her daily news conference Tuesday. She said she would tell the nation's leaders how the state is using testing and contact tracing, and how it is working with meatpacking plants to try to counter deadly outbreaks.
The Republican governor said she would take a private plane to Washington, and her campaign would cover the costs. Several other governors, including Democrats, have made similar White House visits recently to talk to the Republican president.
Reynolds’ planned Washington visit was first reported Tuesday morning by Politico, which said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a fellow Republican, also is expected to make the trip.
News of Reynolds' impending trip came on a day when she announced that a daily record of 19 more Iowans had died from COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 207. The previous daily record day came last Wednesday, when Iowa reported 14 COVID-19 deaths. State officials on Tuesday also reported that 408 more people tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total to 10,111.
Businesses with outbreaks released
Reynolds' press conference included confirmation from the Iowa Department of Public Health of manufacturing companies where more than 10% of workers have tested positive for the virus. They included meatpacking plants in Columbus Junction, Tama, Perry and Waterloo, and a windmill factory in Newton.
The highest percentage of infected workers was at the Tyson pork processing plant in Perry, where 58% of tested workers had the virus, said Sarah Reisetter, deputy director of the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Despite the rising death toll and infection numbers, Reynolds said she is optimistic.
"It's only going to get better," she said. "… I believe in Iowans. I trust Iowans to do the right thing. There's going to be a few outliers, as with anything. But together, we're going to move through this and we're going to start to reopen our economy, get Iowans back to work. And we're going to get to the other side of this."
Tony Leys covers health care for the Register. Reach him at email@example.com or 515-284-8449. Your subscription makes work like this possible. Subscribe today at DesMoinesRegister.com/Deal.