Liveblog: 288 New Cases Of COVID-19, 13 More Deaths Sunday

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.

Get caught up on the most important headlines from from May 3-9 here.  

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Monday, May 11

4:00 p.m. – State has yet to rely on Test Iowa lab equipment

More than two weeks into testing for coronavirus through the Test Iowa initiative, the state isn’t relying on new equipment from that program to report out test results.

Six drive-thru sites are open through Test Iowa with a seventh planned, but the State Hygienic Lab hasn’t validated the equipment that’s supposed to boost the state’s capacity for processing those tests.

It’s not clear if Iowa’s lab has encountered any problems with the equipment included in the state’s $26 million contract with Utah-based tech companies.

Matt Binnicker, director of clinical virology at the Mayo Clinic, says validating new tests means making sure they’re accurate and precise. “To do that we take samples that have tested positive for COVID-19 by another emergency use authorized test, and we can demonstrate that the new test also generates the same results.”

He says if the results don’t match up, that could delay implementation and the lab would likely ask the manufacturer, in this case Co-Diagnostics, to help make adjustments.

1:41 p.m. – Gov. Kim Reynolds to follow modified quarantine plan

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.

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

Shortly after, one of Pence’s staffers tested positive for the virus.

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

Gov. Reynolds said she will also be tested for the virus daily. She said her test on Monday was negative. 

1:13 p.m. - Gov. Kim Reynolds will work to distribute Remdesivir

Reynolds said at a press conference Monday that she’s working to distribute the drug Remdesivir across the state after receiving it from the federal government over the weekend.

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.”

The federal department of Health and Human Services announced this weekend was shipping the drug to six states for hospitalized patients. Iowa received 400 vials of the drug.

12:01 p.m. – Iowa officials are reporting 414 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the state’s total to 12,373 confirmed cases.

Six more Iowans have died from the virus. This means so far 271 people in the state have died from COVID-19 related complications.

More than 77,000 Iowans have been tested for the virus so far, and more than 5,200 have recovered.

New cases: 414 Confirmed cases: 12,373 Deaths: 271

32 of the state’s long term care facilities are reported to have outbreaks.

11:00 a.m. - Gov. Reynolds hosts press conference

Sunday, May 10

7:26 p.m. - The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 288 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 Sunday

This brings the total of positive tests to 11,959. 

Another 13 Iowans have died of the illness, bringing the total deaths in the state to 265. 413 people are currently hospitalized with the coronavirus.

Another long-term care facility to show an outbreak of the virus is NewAldaya Lifescapes in Cedar Falls, where a staff member had tested positive on April 23. Thirty long-term care centers across the state have outbreaks, which means at least three residents tested positive for the virus.

Notable headlines from May 3 - 9:

  • As of May 9, there are a total of 11,671 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Iowa
  • As of May 9, there have been 252 deaths due to COVID-19 in Iowa
  • The Tyson meat packing plant in Waterloo reopened May 7, the same day they announced a total of 1,031 workers identified as having COVID-19
  • A Sioux City hospital moved four patients to other hospitals in the region to expand the number of intensive care unit beds available for new patients
  • Gov. Kim Reynolds shifts the focus of Iowa's coronavirus response to "aggressive" testing and contact tracing
  • The number of unemployed Iowans receiving ongoing assistance surpassed 180,000
  • The Tyson meat packing plant in Dakota City, Nebraska resumed limited operations May 7
  • Campgrounds, drive-in movie theaters, tanning facilities and medical spas were allowed to reopen in certain parts of the state on May 8
  • The Iowa Department of Education announced it would share more than $71 million in federal relief funds with public school districts
  • The Des Moines Symphony announced that it's postponing its summer concerts