As we all walk through this difficult time, Iowans all across the state have been looking for ways to help their neighbors and communities. I’ve been hearing of people making homemade face masks for their friends, families, neighbors, or donating them to local medical facilities. My wife has enjoyed making masks for her sister, a nurse practitioner, and our daughter, who is a clinic receptionist. Local restaurants have contributed food to health care providers, and many Iowans are supporting these local restaurants with takeout orders to help keep these places in business.
You can help your community in many ways. The Iowa Department of Public Health has issued guidance on making homemade masks for health care providers. You can also check with your local hospital on what specifications they have. Volunteer Iowa has a number of opportunities available for those who want to volunteer during the pandemic. American Red Cross is looking for people to donate blood. The Food Bank of Iowa is currently doing a fundraiser to raise money to meet the immediate need for meals for Iowans impacted in some way by the virus.
There are quite a few food assistance programs available. If you and your family are struggling to get necessary meals, The Department of Human Services has information available on how to apply for food assistance. At the Department of Public Health’s website you can learn about the WIC program. The Department on Aging is also providing home-delivered or drive-through meals for Iowans over the age of 60. Food banks all across Iowa are working hard to provide meals for families in need. Iowa Homeland Security has a map of food banks serving your area.
The state website for COVID-19 in Iowa has also been updated to include more information about the number of cases in our state and additional information on how the virus is affecting Iowa. You can find that information at coronavirus.iowa.gov. The site includes details on lab testing and assessments from each of the regional medical coordination centers (RMCC). The RMCC information lists the number of hospitalized patients, number of beds and ventilators available, and how many people are on ventilators.
I am so grateful for the doctors, nurses, health care staff, and first responders working around the clock to help those patients very ill with this virus. Our country has been blessed with a wonderful medical history we should all be thankful for. Iowa is no exception. Thank you all for your selfless service during this time. For those who continue to go to work and are looking for childcare, the Department of Human Services has a map of facilities with spots available.
I have been responding to constituents who have questions regarding the current state restrictions. Recently, I helped clarify rules about campgrounds for long term workers and give information about programs for small businesses. A number of constituents have contacted me expressing their desire to reopen the economy. I am encouraged that some major employers are bringing people back to work. I, like you, look forward to seeing the economy gear up sooner than later. We are resilient people not only as a state, but as a nation as well. I am confident that as we work through this crisis together (looking to God) we will come out of this stronger and wiser.
If you have any questions, concerns, or are looking for resources to help you during this time, please feel free to contact me.