Abuse Can Be Unintended Consequence Of COVID-19 Related Isolation

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Governor Kim Reynolds updated the public on COVID-19 Wednesday while also highlighting the possible increase in abuse that can occur with disaster situations.

96 new positive cases were reported at Wednesday’s conference, bringing the state total to 1,995. 407 negative cases were reported for a total of 17,874. The State Hygienic Lab currently has 3,048 tests available. 171 individuals are currently hospitalized while 908 have recovered, bringing Iowa’s recovery rate to 46 percent. 4 additional deaths have been reported, 1 older adult (61-80) in Allamakee County, 1 older adult (61-80) in Johnson County, 1 elderly adult (81+) in Clayton County and one elderly adult (81+) in Polk County. These deaths bring the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in Iowa to 53.

The Iowa Department of Public Health has confirmed an additional outbreak at the Wilton Retirement Community in Muscatine, bringing the total number of outbreaks at long-term care facilities to 7. The Department of Public Health is sending testing supplies to Wilton Retirement Community to ensure additional residents can be tested. An additional 900 tests are also being sent to the Tyson plant in Columbus Junction.

Reynolds emphasized that 10 percent of Iowa’s total COVID-19 cases and 49 percent of deaths have been related to the long-term care facility outbreaks. Furthermore, all deaths in Iowa at this time have been of older or elderly individuals or people with underlying health conditions. According to Reynolds, this underscores the importance of following mitigation strategies in order to protect our vulnerable populations.

Reynolds also took some time to discuss another issue facing many Iowans as an unintended consequence of mitigation efforts: abuse and neglect. Data from past disasters shows that physical abuse, sexual abuse, substance abuse, and domestic violence increases along with the stress upon families during these types of situations. For many suffering from abuse, being isolated at home can mean the abuse goes unnoticed. Reynolds encouraged anyone who is witnessing abuse or suspecting abuse to contact DHS immediately.

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