On Thursday, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced the state’s public health emergency declaration for COVID-19 will end in February.
“We cannot continue to suspend duly enacted laws and treat COVID-19 as a public health emergency indefinitely,” Reynolds said in a statement. “After two years, it’s no longer feasible or necessary. The flu and other infectious illnesses are part of our everyday lives, and coronavirus can be managed similarly.”
“State agencies will now manage COVID-19 as part of normal daily business and reallocate resources that have been solely dedicated to the response effort to serve other important needs for Iowans,” she added.
Reynold’s office announced that the declaration would end on Feb. 15. According to the announcement, only 16 of the hundreds of provisions under the directive are still active. The remaining orders focus on workforce concerns that the governor said can be managed without emergency executive powers.
The end to the public health emergency means the state will alter how it publicly reports COVID-19 data moving forward.
According to Thursday’s announcement, the state’s two COVID-19 websites will be decommissioned in February. Data concerning weekly COVID-19 cases, positive test results since March 2020, total recorded deaths since March 2020, and the state’s vaccine information will remain on the health department’s website.
The Iowa Department of Public Health will “report relevant COVID-19 information weekly on its website. The governor’s office said it would report data similar to how the annual flu activity is reported.
The State of Iowa and its health care providers will also continue to report COVID-19 data as required by the CDC.
The State Hygienic Lab will continue to operate the Test Iowa at Home program.
States are not required to have a disaster declaration to be eligible for federal coronavirus-related funding. Iowa will continue to receive the vaccine and therapeutic allocations after the declaration expires in February.
Nearly 50% of U.S. states have already terminated their public health declarations, and several others are set to expire in February if they aren’t revived by state officials.