White House urges Iowa to tighten restrictions as COVID-19 surges
Iowa is experiencing an "unyielding COVID spread," illustrated by swelling hospital admissions and ICU data, according to a Nov. 8 White House Coronavirus Task Force report obtained by the local ABC News affiliate.
Driving the news: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, who has repeatedly said that strict rules were unnecessary and ineffective, on Tuesday issued limits on large gatherings and implemented a partial mask mandate for social settings and some businesses.
- “You can still eat in a restaurant, you can still go to a movie and work out at the gym, and in many states you can’t do that," Reynolds told reporters, per the Des Moines Register.
- "Iowa is open for business and we intend to keep it that way.”
By the numbers: "The most recent trends, showing steep inclines across all indicators, need immediate action including mask requirements to decrease severity in morbidity and mortality among Iowans," the report says.
- Iowa has the fourth-highest COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., behind North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, per the task force report.
- More than 95% of the state's hospitals reported either new confirmed or new suspected coronavirus patients daily between Oct. 31 and Nov. 6.
- Iowa reported 621 new cases per 100,000 people during that time frame — nearly triple the national average.
- Confirmed cases have also increased in nursing homes across the state, where 41% reported at least one new staff case between Oct. 26 and Nov. 1.
Details: The task force said...
- Iowa should limit restaurants' indoor capacity to less than 50% and restrict hours until the case count drops.
- There should be increased testing of teachers, hospital personnel, care workers and students.
- Iowa should enforce stricter public mask policies, especially in schools.
Of note: The Iowa Department of Education has approved requests from 24 school districts this month to transition to temporary online learning due to rising cases in students and staff.