Gov. Kim Reynolds on Thursday announced additional measures to slow the spread of coronavirus in the state as the Iowa Department of Public Health reported the largest 24-hour increase in positive cases since the pandemic began.
“When you look at the last two weeks, 23% of all new positive cases statewide were among young adults ages 19 to 24,” Reynolds said. “And that number is dramatically higher in several counties.”
Reynolds said she signed a new public health disaster proclamation that will close bars in six Iowa counties seeing a surge in cases. Restaurants in those six counties must stop serving alcohol past 10 p.m. Read the full proclamation here.
“Today I’ve signed a new public health disaster proclamation that takes the following new public health measures to do that. First we will be closing all bars, taverns, breweries and nightclubs in six counties with some of the worst, of the most virus activity is occurring, and those counties include Black Hawk, Dallas, Johnson, Linn, Polk and Story. Restaurants that sell alcohol in those six counties are permitted to remain open, but they must also stop selling alcohol after 10 p.m. And I am again calling on all peace officers in the state to assist in the enforcement of these measures, as well as those in the proclamation that I signed last week,” Reynolds said. “That includes the requirement that hosting social gatherings of more than 10 people must ensure that those attending maintain 6 feet of social distancing. Second, consistent with the recommendations of the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Board of Medicine, I am strongly encouraging all Iowans age 2 and older to wear a mask or other face covering when in public settings, especially in circumstances when it’s not possible to remain 6 feet from others outside their households, unless it is safe to do so or because of health or disability. All of these actions will go into effect tonight at 5 p.m. and will be in effect until Sept. 20.”
Those six Iowa counties represent more than one third of Iowa’s population. Reynolds said she did not make the decision lightly.
« I don’t make these decisions lightly, and it’s not lost on me that every business forced to close, alter their hours in sales, even temporarily, plays a role in the lives of Iowa workers and our small businesses. But these actions are absolutely necessary and come from guidance within the Iowa Department of Public Health, Dr. Pedati, the epidemiologist team and then I know today’s decision is the right one., » Reynolds said.
The governor also announced Thursday that antigen testing will expand in the state and will be included in testing data going forward.
“Now this antigen testing is looking for proteins that exist on the surface of the virus. And they can be helpful because they can be done more quickly, but not always in as high volume as most PCR testing,” Pedati said.
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