LINN COUNTY, Iowa (KWWL) -- The Linn County Board of Supervisors has unanimously passed a countywide mask mandate.
The Board signed a resolution approving the Linn County Board of Health's face covering regulation, which was unanimously approved on Monday. The resolution requires masks be worn in public space throughout the county when 6 feet of distancing cannot be maintained. The mask mandate takes effect on Thursday.
The mandate aligns with recommendations from the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the Centers for Disease Control on the use of face coverings in public to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Scientific studies have shown face coverings over the mouth and nose significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The latest White House Coronavirus Task Force report lists all of Iowa's 99 counties in the “red zone,” meaning they have high levels of community spread. Linn County is one of the top counties with the highest number of new cases over the last three weeks. The report called the community spread in Iowa "exponential and unyielding" and called for mask requirements in all public settings. The report also says Iowa has seen a 30% increase in new hospital admissions in the last week.
The Linn County mandate comes just days after Governor Reynolds issued a partial statewide mask mandate as well as other mitigation measures.
"In recognition of the current surge in the number of positive cases of COVID-19, the extreme burden on the local health care systems in Linn County, and the science on the efficacy of face coverings, the Board of Health proposed a mandatory face covering regulation to recommend to the Linn County Board of Supervisors. The emphasis of the regulation is on mitigating the spread of the coronavirus in Linn County. It is not meant to be punitive or a burden to those with health conditions that would be exacerbated by wearing the mask. We hope that all citizens will consider their own health and that of their fellow citizens by wearing a mask as directed and helping to slow down the spread of the virus," Dr. Mary Tarbox, Chair of the Linn County Board of Health said.
"Iowa has some of the highest rates of COVID-19 infection per capita in the nation. I have spoken with epidemiologists, doctors, nurses, and other public health experts. Left unchecked, this virus will continue to negatively impact our economy, hospitals, schools, families, and work force," Ben Rogers, Chair of the Linn County Board of Supervisors said. "This action to mandate face coverings is not something the Board of Supervisors takes lightly. However, we believe it is in the collective best interest of our community."
The Linn County mask mandate can be found here: