Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has increased coronavirus mitigation steps in Region 6, which includes Linn County and surrounding areas in northeastern Iowa.
Reynolds made the announcement during a press conference on Thursday, April 16. The recommendation begins at 11:59 p.m. today and extends through April 30.
All social gatherings are ordered to cease at that time, with limited exceptions for weddings and funerals, which will still be limited to 10 people or less. No extra precautions or major changes were mandated for businesses.
The additional step was ordered as Region 6 reached a “10” on the state’s coronavirus thresholds, which includes numbers of hospitalizations, outbreaks and other factors.
Region 6 includes Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Grundy, Howard, Jones, Linn, and Winneshiek counties.
Reynolds remains one of few governors to not issue a “shelter in place” order, even as numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths increase in Iowa.
Iowa reported a record number of new cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, on Tuesday, April 14.
The state of Iowa also released a new dashboard Tuesday on coronavirus.iowa.gov that offers information not previously provided, including some demographics that show disparities.
For example, Latinos and Hispanics make up only 6 percent of Iowa’s population, but accounted for 17.3 percent of confirmed cases as of Wednesday, April 15, and African Americans, who make up about 4 percent of the state’s population, accounted for 9.2 percent of Iowa’s cases.
Related: Long line waits for free food in Cedar Rapids
The record number of cases reported Tuesday comprised 189 additional positive cases for a total of 1,899 positive cases in Iowa as of that date. That included 199 surveillance tests conducted of Tyson Plant employees at Columbus Junction in Louisa County, 86 of which were positive, and where two employees were reported to have died of COVID-19.
Statewide, there were an additional 96 positive cases on Wednesday and 146 on Thursday, April 16, with 2,141 confirmed cases to date, but still little testing overall, so the numbers do not represent the full extent of the highly transmissible virus in Iowa.
An additional six deaths were reported on Tuesday, four on Wednesday and seven on Thursday, for a total of 60 deaths in Iowa.
The state also reported another outbreak in a long-term care facility on Wednesday, and two more on Thursday, bringing the total number of outbreaks in nursing homes to nine.
More: Cedar Rapids nursing home reports 14 COVID-19 deaths
Following is the proclamation issued by Gov. Reynolds related to Region 6:
(RMCC Region 6)
SECTION ONE. Pursuant to Iowa Code § 135.144 (3), and in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Public Health, unless otherwise modified by subsequent proclamation or order of the Iowa Department of Public Health, I hereby order that beginning at 11:59 p.m. on April 16, 2020 and continuing until 11:59 p.m. on April 30, 2020:
A. All social, community, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings of any size with individuals other than members of the same household who reside together are prohibited. Weddings, funerals, and other spiritual or religious gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited, and such gatherings with fewer people may continue to be held only if all present comply with paragraph B. This prohibition shall not be construed to restrict the provision of necessary care, including child care, medical care, or other necessary supports, to another person.
B. All people who do leave their homes must practice social distancing by making every reasonable effort to stay at least six feet away from all people other than members of the same household who reside together.
C. These requirements do not apply to or limit gatherings for purposes other than those identified in paragraph A, including those in relation to employment or volunteer activities.
This section shall apply to all people present in Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Grundy, Howard, Jones, Linn, or Winneshiek counties, regardless whether they reside in one of these counties or another county. People residing or working in these counties shall abide by this order at all times regardless of where they are located, including at a workplace or residence in another county.
EMPLOYEE AND PUBLIC PROTECTION
(RMCC Region 6)
SECTION TWO. Pursuant to Iowa Code § 135.144 (3), and in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Public Health, unless otherwise modified by subsequent proclamation or order of the Iowa Department of Public Health, I hereby order that beginning at 11:59 p.m. on April 16, 2020 and continuing until 11:59 p.m. on April 30, 2020:
A. All employers shall evaluate whether any more of their employees can feasibly work remotely and to the extent reasonable, shall take steps to enable such employees to work from home.
B. All businesses or other employers remaining open with in-person operations shall take reasonable precautions to ensure the health of their employees and members of the public, including appropriate employee screening, social distancing practices, and increased cleaning and hygiene practices.
C. This section shall not be a basis for closing or taking other enforcement action against a business or other employer absent an additional specific order or directive of the Iowa Department of Public Health.
This section shall apply to all employers with employees physically located in Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Grundy, Howard, Jones, Linn, or Winneshiek counties.
IMPLEMENTATION AND INTERPRETATION
SECTION THREE. The Iowa Department of Public Safety, Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Iowa Department of Transportation, and other participating state agencies are hereby directed to monitor the operation and implementation of this proclamation to assure the public’s health and safety.
SECTION FOUR. In conjunction with the Department of Public Health pursuant to Iowa Code §§ 29C.18 and 135.35, all peace officers of the state are hereby called upon to assist in the enforcement of the provisions of this Proclamation.
SECTION FIVE. The provisions of this proclamation shall be effective beginning at 11:59 p.m. on April 16, 2020. This proclamation shall not be construed to otherwise modify the proclamations issued on April 2, 2020, April 6, 2020, or April 10, 2020. This state of public health disaster emergency shall continue to expire on April 30, 2020, at 11:59 p.m., unless sooner terminated or extended in writing by me.
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