Gov. Reynolds announces new economic recovery advisory board
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Thursday announced a new executive order that will establish an economic recovery advisory board as the state continues to recover from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
“This will help us chart a course for Iowa's economic comeback and really capitalize on the opportunities created by the new normal that we've all been talking about for the last few months,” she said during a media briefing. “This board will be our economic tip of the spear, looking across the spectrum of Iowa businesses and industries and nonprofit organizations to assess the economic impact of COVID-19, and those whose livelihoods have been hit hard by this pandemic, to analyze and recommend recovery and growth efforts and to identify the opportunities, these changes have opened for us to build the next generation of Iowa's economy and workforce.”
Reynolds said the board’s role isn’t just about moving the “economic dial, but also about ensuring the future prosperity of our state is widespread and reaches those workers and communities who too often feel left out.”
Ben McLean, CEO of Ruan Transportation, will chair the board. Reynolds said he will be joined by representatives from a number of other businesses, including MidAmerican Energy, John Deere, Bush Construction, and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and state agency directors and other private and non-profit sector professionals.
Reynolds said she anticipates that the board will help set the foundation of the legislative agenda in 2021.
She said Iowa is already well into the recovery stage and noted that unemployment claims in the state dropped last week by more than 3,500. Claims overall are down from a high of approximately 205,000 to under 155,000 “indicating that 50,000 are back to work,” she said.
The ability to bring back Iowa’s economy is “really contingent upon how effective we can continue to mitigate, manage and contain COVID-19 over time,” she said.
Nearly 240,000 Iowans have been tested for the coronavirus, for a per capita rate of one in 13 Iowans. Positivity and hospitalization rates are trending down, she said.
As of Thursday, 176 Iowans were hospitalized, and 63 patients are in the intensive care unit.
The Iowa Department of Public Health reported more than 350 new cases of coronavirus and six deaths between 10:30 a.m. Wednesday and 10:30 a.m. Thursday, according to the state’s website.
That brings the statewide total to 24,735 confirmed cases and 677 deaths. Public health officials say 15,417 people have recovered from the virus.
The breakdown of local cases includes:
, 418 confirmed cases (9,926 tested); 10 deaths; 366 recovered.
, 577 confirmed cases (3,748 tested); 43 deaths; 499 recovered.
, 354 confirmed cases (1,268 tested); 13 deaths; 287 recovered.
, 66 confirmed cases (2,149 tested); two deaths; 61 recovered.
, 75 confirmed cases (1,287 tested); three deaths; 66 recovered.
, 40 confirmed cases (1,328 tested); one death; 27 recovered.
, 14 confirmed cases (898) tested); no deaths; 10 recovered.
, 70 confirmed cases (2,466 tested); one death; 61 recovered.
, 54 confirmed cases (1,264 tested); one death; 50 recovered.