Iowa Health Officials: Ending COVID Emergency Does NOT End COVID
Public health officials across Iowa are urging residents not to take the recent words of Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds out of context. She is ending Iowa's "COVID disaster emergency proclamation", but by no means does this mean the end of COVID. (For the record, I don't recall Reynolds declaring "the end of COVID". That may be "misinformation" from the very people who preach against it.)
The public health emergency is ending in Iowa
But it's only "ending" in the sense that something that has gone on far longer than anyone expected, no longer needs to be treated as an "emergency", but a way of life. According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Governor Reynolds' recent statement says, in part:
starting Wednesday, managing the coronavirus will be “part of normal daily business,” similar to how the state public health department responds to influenza
She goes on to say "we cannot continue to suspend duly enacted laws and treat COVID-19 as a public health emergency indefinitely."
What does this mean?
With the end of the proclamation, Iowa public health departments will be making a lot of changes, including:
- Iowa Department of Public Health is shutting down its COVID-19 tracking site and consolidating that info into its general website.
- Reporting of negative testing is no longer required. This will affect the ability to report data on seven-day positivity rates.
- Iowa hospitals and nursing homes are no longer required to report case counts. The state will rely on federal statistics.
- The state will no longer operate its vaccination availability website, leaving those who still haven't gotten the shot to find it on their own.
Some Eastern Iowa health departments (including at least Linn and Johnson County) will continue to track metrics as they have been, with or without the state's guidance. Granted, after a confusing 2+ years, the semantic end of this proclamation may just lead to even more confusion, but do you agree with Reynolds' sentiment that it's time to get back to normal?