Reynolds issues new proclamation
In the past week Iowa has reported over 21,000 new cases and had a statewide average positivity rate of over 19%.
Overall 42% of new cases were adults aged 18-41 and 29% were among adults aged 41-60. In 88 of Iowa’s counties the rolling 14 day average positivity rate is above 15%.
“Iowa has reached a serious point of community spread and can no longer pinpoint any one age group or type of activity that is driving it,” Governor Reynolds said at a press conference Tuesday.
Reynolds said COVID-19 is spreading easily amongst groups as people gather together or go about their normal activities.
“I know we are all experiencing pandemic fatigue but we just can’t let our guard down just because we are getting together with people that we know or are doing things that are most familiar to us,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds shared high risk activities that may seem nonthreatening but are putting Iowans at risk including wedding receptions, youth sports, even having neighbors over to watch a football game.
“If we want to protect our healthcare workers, keep our businesses open and our kids in school and our hospitals open now is the time for every Iowan to carefully consider what more you can do to prevent being exposed to the virus and further spreading it,” Reynolds said.
Ann Lebo, who leads the Iowa Department of Education shared new information regarding schools at a press conference Tuesday.
The Iowa Department of Education is seeing an increase in waiver requests. Lebo said they have received 24 waiver requests and are reviewing three more.
Reasons for the uptick in waiver requests include county positivity rates, student absenteeism and staff absenteeism due to virus related reasons.
Schools do not have to wait until the full student 10% absenteeism rate is met which is or 15% county to apply for a waiver according to Lebow.
“Because each situation is unique, school districts and non-public schools have a lot of flexibility to manage conditions in their schools and can always submit a waiver request at any time,” Lebo said.
Schools can immediately transition to remote learning for up to 48 hours while waiting for a waiver approval.
Gov. Reynolds said patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 account for 15.2% of the census. Patients who test for COVID-19 but it is not the primary reason for hospitalization account for 21% of the census across the state.
“The overall increased patient volume is stressing the healthcare system and it is putting capacity at risk,” Reynolds said.
Surge plans are in place and beds are still available according to Reynolds but staffing them is becoming increasingly challenging.
“The situation has the potential to impact any Iowan for any reason,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds issued a new proclamation effective at midnight Wednesday which includes the following guidelines:
•Any social, community, recreational, leisure or sporting gatherings with more than 25 people indoors or 100 people outdoors will be prohibited unless all people over the age of two wear a mask.
•Groups of individuals who attend these events together are limited to eight people unless the group is from the same household.
•All groups must maintain social distancing from other groups at the event.
•Indoor youth and high school sports activities are allowed only two spectators in attendance per youth athlete or participant.
•The eight person group limitation applies at bars and restaurants.
•Masks are required to be worn by employees and customers at businesses that provide personal services including salons, barber shops, massage therapy, tattooing and tanning.
•Bowling alleys, pools and bingo halls, arcades and children indoor play centers are now required to assure groups are limited to eight.