The White House — Governor Kim Reynolds and State Epidemiologist Dr. Caitlyn Pedati spent their Wednesday afternoon in the Oval Office educating President Donald Trump on the fight against COVID-19 in Iowa.
Governor Reynolds and Dr. Pedati joined the President’s coronavirus task force to discuss Iowa’s meatpacking industry and the steps being taken to keep them open safely during. Tyson has shut down production at its Waterloo plant, but plans to re-open it tomorrow. Tyson’s plant in Perry has remained open despite 58% of its workforce testing positive for COVID-19.
Governor Reynolds says management at the facilities are increasing safety measures for employees including checking temperatures when employees arrive at work and require masks and face shields while working. Reynolds says the plant owners aren’t willing to risk the lives of employees. “This is an essential workforce, they know how important it is to take care of them,” Reynolds said of her discussions with plant owners.
Reynolds and Pedati were joined by members of the president’s COVID-19 task force including Vice President Mike Pence, Dr. Deborah Birx and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. Reynolds and Secretary Perdue predicted that Iowa’s meatpacking plants will be back open at 100% capacity by the end of next week. President Trump says it could be even sooner than that but didn’t offer a date.
Vice President Pence will meet with Governor Reynolds again this week in the state of Iowa. Pence is planning to visit Des Moines on Friday. His office says he plans to meet with faith leaders to discuss reopening ‘houses of worship’ and hold a roundtable discussion with leaders in Iowa’s agricultural and grocery industries.