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Gov. Reynolds In 'Modified Quarantine' After Visit With Pence

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, pool
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds updates the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak during a news conference at the State Emergency Operations Center, Thursday, May 7, in Johnston.

Gov. Kim Reynolds said at a press conference Monday that she will follow a modified quarantine plan after a member of Vice President Mike Pence’s staff tested positive for COVID-19.

The governor and state medical director Caitlin Pedati visited the White House last week for a meeting with Vice President Pence and President Donald Trump.

Pence also visited Iowa last Friday. His plane was delayed after his press secretary, Katie Miller, tested positive for the virus. She was not on the flight, but several staffers who had had contact with her were.  They got off the plane before it departed Washington.

Reynolds said Monday that she had no direct contact with Miller, but will follow a plan similar to the one of Dr. Anthony Fauci and other White House administrators. This includes avoiding others and wearing a mask when she does come into contact with people.

"I spoke with my team over the weekend and most will be working from home during this time, especially if they or a family member have health conditions that puts them at a higher risk," she said.

Reynolds said she will also be tested for the virus daily. Her test on Monday was negative, she said.

At the press conference, Reynolds did not allow members of the media to attend in person. Her previous briefings on the pandemic had a rotating press pool. 

She said she did have a mask with her during Friday's events but did not wear it because she "practiced social distancing the entire time" when she met with local and national leaders.

Officials also confirmed on Monday that the state has received a shipment of the the Remdesivir over the weekend from the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

The drug has shown promise in treating COVID-19 and will be used on hospitalized patients.

Reynolds said she’s working with the state public health department, doctors and pharmacists on how and where to distribute the drug -- which has shown promise in treating COVID-19.

"It's based on who benefits the most from the drug and we want to make sure that when we're administrating, administering it, that the physician has been connected with someone that has had experience with the drug," she said.

The state is one of six to receive the drug. Iowa got 10 cases, which each contained 40 vials of the drug donated from Gilead Sciences, Inc.

The other states that received cases are Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan and New Jersey.

At the press conference, state Department of Public Health Deputy Director Sarah Reisetter said Iowa got one of the first shipments due to an analysis by the federal Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response that looked at where case counts had increased over the last seven days.

"They had identified case counts in one part of our state as increasing, and so that's our understanding of how they made the initial decisions about where those initial shipments were going to go," she said.

On Monday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Iowa topped 12,000.

Reynolds said the state is trying to contain the virus by using "targeting testing strategies."