JOHNSTON, Iowa — Governor Kim Reynolds on Tuesday said she doesn't need to change messaging or implement further mitigation strategies to combat COVID-19 at this time, despite more evidence suggesting that people can be infected without showing symptoms.
Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Robert Redfield told NPR in an interview Tuesday that a significant number of individuals who have COVID-19 are asymptomatic. That number, he said, could be as high as 25%.
Reynolds has shut most businesses and recreational facilities down and prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people, but she hasn't called a "stay at home" or "shelter in place" order, which is what some local leaders say needs to happen.
Instead, Reynolds said she's continuing her message of encouraging Iowans to stay home when they're sick and to practice social distancing. For weeks Reynolds has made such pleas, but has focused more on those who are ill to stay indoors.
She was asked during a Tuesday news conference if she she need to be more aggressive in her message to Iowans in light of revelations that many people could have it without showing symptoms.
"I think we have been very aggressive in our messaging," she said.
Deputy Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health Sarah Reisetter said that virus is circulating Iowa and if Iowans do leave the house, they should practice social distancing.
"Because if somebody is ill and they're asymptomatic, you can protect yourself by making sure that when you do need to leave the home, you stay at least six feet apart," Reisetter said.
At least 33 states as of Tuesday have ordered their residents to stay home or "shelter in place." Reynolds has said some of the state's efforts in Iowa are "equivalent" to such orders and she has warned of negative effects if she makes such a call, like disrupting the supply chain for health care supplies and food.
"I can’t lock the state down. I can’t lock everybody in their home," Reynolds said. "When we limit the amount of times that we’re going and minimizing the number of people around, we will start to accomplish—hopefully—what we’ve been trying to do which is flatten the curve. “
Right now in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, Reynolds has closed most businesses—including gyms, theaters, retail stores, bars and restaurants —until April 7 under a disaster order, but she can extend that.
President Trump has extended social distance guidance until April 30.