Delaware County Board of Health Recommending Countywide Mask Mandate

The Delaware County Board of Health is recommending a countywide mask mandate.

The board unanimously made the decision on Friday, November 20th and addressed a letter to the Delaware County Board of Supervisors today. They will present their recommendation to the Delaware County Board of Supervisors next Monday, December 7th.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force continues to list Delaware County in the Red Zone, with recommendations to increase mitigation strategies, including a mask mandate. The Delaware County Board of Health says scientific data shows the addition to physical distancing, wearing a mask is one of the simplest and most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19.

They are not asking for the mask mandate to be an enforceable punishment towards Delaware County citizens, but rather a joint effort between the Board of Health, the Board of Supervisors and law enforcement to expand on the proclamation from Governor Kim Reynolds. The Governor recently announced a limited mask mandate, requiring everyone indoors who cannot social distance for more than 15 minutes to wear a mask – so masks are already required in many indoor spaces.

A copy of the Delaware County Board of Health’s letter to the Delaware County Board of Supervisors can be found below.

 

Monday, November 30, 2020

Dear Supervisors Helmrichs, Madlom, and Buschmann:

The Delaware County Board of Health unanimously agreed on Friday, November 20, 2020, to
recommend a County-wide Mask Mandate. We are requesting to be added to the Board of
Supervisors meeting agenda on Monday, December 7th to present this recommendation.
Positive COVID-19 cases continue to increase in all of Delaware County. The White House
Coronavirus Task Force continues to list Delaware County in the Red Zone, with
recommendations to increase mitigation strategies, including a mask mandate. Here locally in
Delaware County and all across Iowa, hospitalizations for COVID-19 have increased and
continue to challenge our healthcare systems and providers.

Governor Reynolds recently announced Enhanced Public Health Measures which are affecting
businesses locally. If we do not get the positivity rate under control, the Governor will have to
consider shutting down additional businesses and potentially schools. Our businesses have
already experienced devastating losses and some may not be able to recover from another shut
down. Keeping our children in school is crucial not only for their necessary education but also
for their physical and emotional well-being.

Chapter 77:137 of the Iowa Code (Roles and Responsibilities for Local Boards of Health) states:
“Public Health is responsible for safeguarding the community’s health by exercising
responsibility to serve the public interest in the development of comprehensive public
health policies. This core function can be accomplished by promoting use of a scientific
knowledge base in decision making about health and by making the lead in public health
policy development.”

“A local board of health shall make and enforce reasonable rules and regulations not
inconsistent with the law or rules of the state board as may be necessary for the
protection and improvement of the public health.”

As the Delaware County Board of Health, we continue to remain committed to the health of our
county by monitoring the current situation. The scientific data has demonstrated that in addition
to physical distancing, wearing a mask is one of the simplest and most effective ways to slow
the spread of COVID-19. We strongly feel that a County-wide Mask Mandate is reasonable and
necessary to protect the health of all citizens within Delaware County.

We, as the Delaware County Board of Health are not asking for this to be an enforceable
punishment towards the citizens of Delaware County but rather a joint effort between us, the
Board of Supervisors, and law enforcement. We are asking for a unification of authority for
mitigation measures at a local level to expand on the proclamation from the Governor of Iowa.
We, as elected leaders, need to work together to protect the health of Delaware County citizens.

Respectfully,

Delaware County Board of Health
Joan Wessels
Dr. Nicole Salow
Bev Preussner
Patricia Becker
Lamont Davidson

Delaware County Public Health Coordinator
Charity Loecke

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