Governor Kim Reynolds is not making any major changes to manage COVID-19 in Iowa at this time.
The governor held a press conference on Wednesday, acknowledging that the CDC says Iowa had the highest rate of increase in COVID-19 cases last week. But she says the soaring number of confirmed virus cases is largely due to infection among young people, especially in the college towns of Iowa City and Ames.
Last week, she made the move to close bars in six counties and says she’s waiting to see if those actions will cause numbers to drop.
But a White House task force on Monday recommended that Iowa take stricter measures, including a statewide mask mandate. The task force also identified twenty-eight Iowa counties that are “red zones” with the highest rate of infection, which include Delaware and Clayton counties. The “red zone” indicates there are more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population and/or test positivity is above 10%, per the task force’s definition. The White House task force is recommending that bars and gyms close in those “red zone” counties and that social gatherings be limited to ten people or less.
A reporter asked Governor Reynolds at Wednesday’s press conference why she isn’t choosing to follow the White House’s recommendations.
Meanwhile, Delaware County Public Health released a statement on Wednesday, urging residents to wear masks and avoid large gatherings. Local public health officials say Delaware County’s current positivity rate is 13.9%, noting that the county’s rate is significantly higher than surrounding counties. The rate reflects the past 14-day average of positive COVID-19 cases, based on the total individuals tested in the county. Delaware County Public Health says the percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back positive is generally taken as a sign that more infections are going unreported and that the virus in general is spreading more aggressively.