Tuesday, September 22, 2020


Iowa Democratic Party Statement on Secretary Ben Carson’s Visit at Iowa Nursing Home

Carson’s visit comes less than a week after Iowa proclaimed testing shortages in long-term care facilities; offered no solutions while putting seniors in danger

DES MOINESIowa Democratic Party Chair Mark Smith released the following statement in response to HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s trip to a Des Moines long-term care facility:

“Secretary Carson and Kim Reynolds’ unannounced visit to Plymouth Place as Iowa is among the worst in the nation in long-term care facility coronavirus case outbreaks is another selfish, inadequate example of the Trump administration’s response to the global pandemic. More than half of the COVID-19 deaths in Iowa are connected to long-term care facilities, and Governor Reynolds and Secretary Carson’s reckless decision to visit a Des Moines facility today quite literally put lives at risk.

“While President Trump and Governor Reynolds’ inaction has forced thousands of residents and family members to endure agonizing loneliness, the crisis didn’t have to be this bad. If Governor Reynolds and Secretary Carson really want to help vulnerable Iowans in long-term care facilities, they can start by implementing a statewide mask mandate, the White House Coronavirus Task Force recommendations, and an effective testing strategy for these facilities.

“Instead, Secretary Carson’s zero-solutions political visit offered no benefit to Iowans who are bearing the brunt of Trump’s failures. As much as Trump and the GOP elite in Washington want to pretend this pandemic is over, that’s far from the case, and our country needs a leader with a real plan to tackle the crisis head-on instead of ignoring it.”

Here are the numbers on the COVID-19 outbreaks in Iowa’s long-term care facilities:

  • More than half of the COVID-19 deaths in Iowa have been connected with long-term care facilities. Approximately 671 residents have passed away from confirmed coronavirus cases.

  • 39 long-term care facilities in Iowa are currently experiencing coronavirus outbreaks.

  • Just last week, the state announced that it does not have adequate resources for routine staff testing at all long-term care facilities — which is a national guideline set to keep seniors healthy.

  • The White House Coronavirus Task Force has repeatedly labeled Iowa as having an uncontrolled COVID-19 outbreak and recommended a statewide mask mandate to help contain the pandemic, yet Secretary Carson visited while routine testing and a mask mandate have still not been implemented.