Natalie Krebs

Health Reporter

Natalie Krebs is the health reporter for Iowa Public Radio.

Natalie joined Iowa Public Radio in May 2019. She previously worked as an independent producer in west Texas covering everything from immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border to environmental issues in the Permian Basin.

Natalie is a native Minnesotan. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.

Natalie’s favorite public radio program is The World.

Ways to Connect

HM Treasury / Flickr https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

As new COVID-19 cases continue to climb across Iowa, the state has seen an increase in demand for testing, but getting access to a coronavirus test for some Iowans isn't always as simple as just requesting one.

Follow the latest Iowa news in our Daily Digest, a newsblog where you can catch up on all the headlines you'll hear about in our on-air newscasts.  

Courtesy of University of Iowa Health Care Marketing and Communications

Though many people who have been seriously ill from COVID-19 are older or have underlying health conditions, it’s still unclear what causes certain people to get really sick from the coronavirus. Waterloo resident Aquarius Bunch had been a healthy 27-year-old working at an assisted living facility when she got COVID-19. 

Charlie Neibergall / AP Photo

As COVID-19 cases have increased across the country, some local public health officials are urging Iowans to take extra precautions.


Follow the latest Iowa news in our Daily Digest, a newsblog where you can catch up on all the headlines you'll hear about in our on-air newscasts.  

Ben Wicks / Unsplash

A year ago, the Iowa Legislature created a children’s mental health system, and many were concerned because that system came without state funding attached. This year the legislature experienced an unusual session broken up by the COVID-19 pandemic, and proposed funding didn’t pass. This has left some regions concerned about where that leaves the system now.

Follow the latest Iowa news in our Daily Digest, a liveblog where you can catch up on the headlines and find more reporting from our news team from around Iowa. 

Natalie Krebs / IPR

Childcare in Iowa appears to be reaching a crisis. Nearly a quarter of the state’s residents are estimated to live in a childcare desert while the annual cost has been estimated to be more than tuition at a public university. This year addressing childcare was set to be a priority in the state legislature, but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 

Natalie Krebs / IPR file

The death of Minneapolis man George Floyd at the hands of a police officer has sparked large protests across Iowa,  sometimes attracting crowds numbering into the thousands.

Andrew Batt/Iowa PBS

Follow the latest Iowa news in our Daily Digest, a liveblog where you can catch up on the headlines in five minutes and find more reporting from our news team about the stories you care about. 

Mika Baumeister / Unsplash

As Iowa opens up, health experts say there are three legs to managing this virus: testing, tracing and isolation. Experts say it’s not enough to test, and that it's important to contact those who potentially may have been exposed to the virus so they can isolate. This is known as contact tracing.

Morning Edition host Clay Masters talks with IPR health reporter Natalie Krebs about how the state and local health departments are handling contact tracing.

Daan Stevens / Unsplash

Iowa hospitals could lose $1.4 billion in revenue between March and September due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report commissioned by the Iowa Hospital Association.

Natalie Krebs / IPR

Large gatherings are allowed to resume starting this week. There's a primary on Tuesday, and the Iowa Legislature is returning to session Wednesday. As the state grapples with reopening, protests over the death of George Floyd have turned violent in Des Moines. 

Continue to follow the latest Iowa news here for the week of May 31-June 6.

Adam Wilson / Unsplash

A new report by the non-profit Trust for America’s health found that drug-related deaths rates in Iowa decreased by 15 percent while alcohol-related deaths decreased by 4 percent from 2017 to 2018.

Spencer Pugh / Unsplash

Studies have found the rates of mental illness and suicide are higher for farmers. The profession requires long hours, limited social contact and is often at the mercy of external factors such as weather and market rates. Now the COVID-19 pandemic has farmers facing unprecedented challenges, and this has some worried about a mental health crisis in this community.

Madeleine King / IPR File

In many Iowa counties, businesses and organizations are now deciding when and how to reopen. Summer festivals and events organizations are making decisions around whether or how they will operate, and Gov. Kim Reynolds has announced that she is "shifting focus" of Iowa's coronavirus response.

Follow the latest Iowa coronavirus news here, where we're posting news updates from Gov. Kim Reynolds, other state agencies, counties and businesses for the week of May 17-May 23.

Charlie Neibergall, Pool / AP Photo

Gov. Kim Reynolds said now that Test Iowa’s equipment has been validated, the state will soon be able to process 5,000 COVID-19 tests a day.

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, pool

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.

Michael Leland / Iowa Public Radio

In many Iowa counties, businesses and organizations are now deciding when and how to reopen. Summer festivals and events organizations are making decisions around whether or how they will operate, and Gov. Kim Reynolds has announced that she is "shifting focus" of Iowa's coronavirus response.

However, reviews of testing and contact tracing capacity by NPR show that Iowa has not met the thresholds recommended by health experts to safely relax restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of the coronavirus. 

Follow the latest Iowa coronavirus news here, where we're posting news updates from Gov. Kim Reynolds, other state agencies, counties and businesses for the week of May 10-May 16.

Guilherme Cunha / Unsplash

As Gov. Kim Reynolds has started to ease restrictions across parts of the state, some rural counties have seen an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases, making some local officials concerned about reopening.

Michael Leland

Iowa schools are closed for the rest of the school year, and many businesses remain closed, although the state did 'reopen' 77 Iowa counties on May 1. We'll be posting updates from Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Public Health and other news as it becomes available here for the week of May 3-May 9.

Sydney Sims / Unsplash

The COVID-19 pandemic may be presenting more obstacles for victims of domestic violence to get help.

Amy O'Shaughnessy / IPR

Iowa schools are closed for the rest of the school year, and many businesses remain closed through April 30 by order of the governor as the state works to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. We'll be posting updates from Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Public Health and other news as it becomes available here for the week of April 26 - May 2.

ashton kutcher
Chris Pizzello / Invision/AP File

Gov. Kim Reynolds said Thursday that actor and Iowa native Ashton Kutcher first connected her with the companies the state is paying $26 million in a no-bid contract to expand coronavirus testing through the Test Iowa initiative.

On Tuesday, Reynolds announced the state contracted with Nomi Health, with involvement from Domo and Qualtrics, to set up an online assessment and drive-thru test sites with the goal of testing 3,000 additional Iowans each day.

Grinnell Regional Medical Center

Grinnell Regional Medical Center is in Poweshiek County, which has just over a dozen confirmed cases of COVID-19. But it’s also directly south of Tama County, which has no hospital and more than 200 confirmed cases from outbreaks at a long term care facility and meat packing plant. 

Amy Mayer / IPR file

Gov. Kim Reynolds said Monday she will not order the Tyson hog processing facility in Waterloo to close, after some Democratic state lawmakers called for a temporary shutdown to protect workers from becoming infected with COVID-19. 

As of Monday, the state has confirmed two outbreaks in meat processing facilities: the National Beef-owned plant in Tama, and the Tyson plant in Columbus Junction that have affected hundreds of workers. State officials have said they consider more than 10 percent of employees at a business showing COVID-19 symptoms to be an outbreak. 

Michael Leland / IPR

Iowa schools are closed for the rest of the school year, and many businesses remain closed through April 30 by order of the governor as the state works to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. We'll be posting updates from Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Public Health and other news as it becomes available here for the week of April 19-25.

Michael Leland / IPR File

Most of Iowa’s counties now have at least one confirmed case of COVID-19, and in many of the state’s rural counties, there’s just a handful of cases. But this has given some a false sense of security that rural areas could be more protected against the virus. 

CDC / Unsplash

A new report has found Iowa’s decreased spending on public health has made it more vulnerable to emergencies.

Science in HD / Unsplash

It’s known that there’s a shortage of COVID-19 testing in Iowa, but how does that factor into the state’s death count? Here's what to know about how Iowa is counting deaths from COVID-19.

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