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White House Task Force calls for statewide mask mandate, more business restrictions in Iowa

Iowa Coronavirus

IOWA (WHO13) - The White House Coronavirus Task Force says the entire state of Iowa is in a “red zone” for COVID-19 and is recommending more businesses close and more mask madates be enacted.

The report, which is dated August 30th, was released to media outlets on Monday by the Iowa Department of Public Health. The report lists Iowa as having the highest number of new cases per capita in the US currently. Iowa’s positivity rate among those tested is the fifth highest in the nation.

Ames and Iowa City ranked worst metro areas for COVID-19 outbreak

The report shows the biggest spike in cases has been in Polk, Story and Johnson counties over the last few weeks. However, the report says both rural and urban counties in Iowa are showing increases in cases right now.

One striking statistic in the report: Iowa is averaging 232 new cases per 100,000 residents right now. That is nearly three times the national average of 88 cases per 100,00 citizens.

The task force offered a list of recommendations for the state beyond our current measures to stop the spread of the virus, including:

  • Mask mandates across the state must be in place to decrease transmission
  • Bars must be closed
  • Indoor dining restricted to 25% of capacity in “red zones”, 50% in “yellow zones”
  • Immediate testing for all returning students in “university towns” and routine “surveillance testing” afterward
  • Hire more contract tracers from minority and underserved communities
  • Limit size of social gatherings

Aug. 31: 611 new cases, 129 recoveries, and 2 deaths

Last week Gov. Kim Reynolds did shut down bars in six Iowa counties where COVID-19 is spiking. Those bars will remain closed until at least September 20th.

Reynolds has repeatedly pushed back against mask mandates, both a statewide ban or bans enacted by local cities. Reynolds says Iowans should decide for themselves whether or not they want to wear a mask, but has strongly encouraged everyone age 2 or older to wear one when in public settings. The recent spike in cases in Iowa would seem to prove otherwise.

Reynolds plans to hold her next press conference this Wednesday.

View the August 30 report here:

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