Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) announced the end of the Public Health Disaster Proclamation in her state.
Reynolds signed the proclamation’s final extension, stating it shall expire at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, February 15th, 2022.
The governor noted it’s time for Iowans to face the reality COVID-19 is part of their everyday lives and can be managed like illnesses such as influenza.
State agencies will now manage COVID-19 as part of normal daily business, and reallocate resources that have been solely dedicated to the response effort to serve other important needs for Iowans.https://t.co/vwHI31o6ab
— Gov. Kim Reynolds (@IAGovernor) February 3, 2022
As stated by the Office of Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds:
“We cannot continue to suspend duly enacted laws and treat COVID-19 as a public health emergency indefinitely. After two years, it’s no longer feasible or necessary. The flu and other infectious illnesses are part of our everyday lives, and coronavirus can be managed similarly,” stated Gov. Reynolds. “State agencies will now manage COVID-19 as part of normal daily business, and reallocate resources that have been solely dedicated to the response effort to serve other important needs for Iowans.”
The expiration of Iowa’s Public Health Disaster Emergency Proclamation will result in operational changes related to the COVID-19 response. The most noticeable change will be how data is reported publicly. The state’s two COVID-19 websites, coronavirus.iowa.gov and vaccinateiowa.gov, will be decommissioned on February 16, 2022, but information will remain accessible online through other state and federal resources.
“While our COVID-19 reporting will look different, Iowans should rest assured that the state health department will continue to review and analyze COVID-19 and other public health data daily, just as we always have,” stated Kelly Garcia, director of the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). “The new format will include data points that Iowans are used to seeing, but moves us closer to existing reporting standards for other respiratory viruses. This new phase also assures that our teams, who have been deeply committed to the COVID-19 response, can return to their pre-pandemic responsibilities, and refocus on areas where the pandemic has taken a hard toll.”
Read the signed proclamation here.
“After two years, it’s no longer feasible or necessary.”
— The Epoch Times (@EpochTimes) February 4, 2022
NEW 🚨 Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds compared COVID-19 to the flu in announcing she will end her Public Health Disaster Emergency Proclamation on February 15th – Press Release pic.twitter.com/PTaSko1093
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) February 3, 2022
The Des Moines Register reported:
Going forward, the state health department website will not include regular reports on COVID-19 hospitalizations or nursing-home outbreaks, as the current site does.
Garcia said Iowa will no longer require hospitals and nursing homes to report such data to the state, since they already report it to federal officials. Iowans wanting updates on those numbers will be referred to federal websites, she said. But the state report will include weekly updates on such things as positive tests, deaths and cases by county.
“More than half of the states have ratcheted this down,” she said of COVID reporting.
Lina Tucker Reinders, executive director of the Iowa Public Health Association, called the shift “premature.” She said in an interview Thursday that the move could give Iowans the false impression the pandemic is over.
Tucker Reinders said COVID-19 hospitalization numbers are the most concrete way for the public to see how serious the situation remains. Although hospitalization numbers will remain available on federal websites, those sites are harder to navigate than the state’s current site is, she said.
“It will be something you have to search and dig for,” she said.
The Iowa Democratic Party also criticized the governor’s decision.
“Just because Kim Reynolds wants the pandemic to be over, doesn’t mean it’s over for Iowans,” the party said in a statement. “Our doctors, nurses and caregivers are already stretched thin, and this irresponsible decision will make a bad situation much worse.”
The biggest takeaway from those final statements is Democrats never want the ‘pandemic’ to be over.