JOHNSTON — Governor Kim Reynolds last week decided that the Public Health Disaster Proclamation she first issued in March 2020 will end next week. Reynolds says the coronavirus is similar to the flu and other infectious illnesses and state agencies will start managing COVID-19 as part of normal daily business. The Iowa Department of Public Health will take down its online vaccine finder and no longer publish the number of Iowa nursing homes with COVID outbreaks.
House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst, a Democrat from Windsor Heights, says this is an interesting time to make this move. “I want the pandemic to be over,” Konfrst says. “We all want the pandemic to over, but shouldn’t we have access to tools that help us keep our families safe? And so my frustration isn’t necessarily with the ending of the pandemic Emergency Proclamation, it’s with what goes away. It’s with access to vaccination information. It makes it harder to know where outbreaks are.”
Konfrst says statewide data about the pandemic helps Iowans make good decisions. “Yes, we’ve been in this for a while, but we still have thousands of cases,” Konfrst says. “We still have people getting sick, so I think the important thing here is to remember that more information, accurate information is the most important thing we need.”
Konfrst made her comments during the “Iowa Press” program which aired over the weekend on Iowa P-B-S. Kelly Garcia, the interim director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, says similar agencies in more than half of the states are making similar changes to manage COVID as they do other contagious viruses.