State has 90 cases of COVID-19, more businesses ordered closed

Sunday, March 22, 2020
This is a new image of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the disease that flared in Wuhan, China, in late December and has killed nearly 2,000 people.
Photo courtesy of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Rocky Mountain Lab

Salons, spas, tattoo businesses ordered closed

Gov. Kim Reynolds on Sunday issued an executive order closing another set of businesses through the end of March.

She also explained her thought process behind closing schools ― while still keeping child care centers open ― a week ago.

"Today, I signed a disaster emergency proclamation that takes additional steps to protect Iowans and to mitigate the spread of the virus," Reynolds said at her Sunday press conference. "Effective at 10 p.m. (Sunday), salons and barber shops, medical spas, massage therapy, tattoo establishments, tanning salons and swimming pools will be closed until March 31."

Child care centers stay open

Reynolds said her decision to keep child care centers open has generated opinions and "high emotion" from families around the state.

"We certainly understand why," she said. "You know, as a grandmother of 10 young children I share your concern during this very uncertain time. Our children are precious and we want to always ensure their health and safety."

The governor heard from families who felt that when schools closed, child cares should also close.

"The two decisions are not the same," she said. "Each has consequences that impact families but, in the situation we face today, the impact of closing child care is significantly different. The reality is, if child care closes, parents of young children who are employed in essential services such as health care, emergency services, food production and supply and manufacturing won't be able to work."

Reynolds said parents with those essential occupations are needed now more than ever.

"It's these workers who are needed to care for Iowans who are, and may, become sick with COVID-19, so that we continue to provide emergency services and law enforcement, to keep grocery stores stocked and open and to ensure the manufacturing and delivery of critical service supplies continues," she said. "We need to support them at this time by continuing to care for their young children so they can do what's necessary to serve the needs of Iowans.

The governor said her office, the Iowa Department of Public Health, the Department of Human Services and the Department of Education have spent a lot of time considering how to keep child care centers open, to look for ways to increase access and to best protect the state's youngest residents. The state agencies have been working with school districts, community organizations and churches to get pop-up child care centers up-and-running, according to the governor.

Child care operators have received updated guidance from DHS. New protocols call on parents to drop their children off at the door and pause so staff members can do a child temperature check upon arrival. Children with a temperature at 100.4 or higher are sent home with no exception. Distancing is encouraged within child care centers when possible. Staff members have been encouraged to remove plush toys. Toys brought in by families are no longer allowed and blankets used for nap time are sent home daily for cleaning. Child care center directors are encouraged to send the state daily updates with any available spaces a well.

More changes as COVID-19 cases grow

The governor also suspended foreclosures on residential, commercial and agricultural properties and eased some medical licensing requirements to "ensure that doctors, nurses and others who are ready to step up and serve are able to do so."

Reynolds called on Iowans who have traveled recently for business or spring break vacations to "strongly consider" self-isolating for 14 days. Her advisory applied to both international and domestic travelers returning to Iowa.

"This will support Iowa's ongoing efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and limit the introduction of the virus from other points of travel," her office said in an 11:10 a.m. update Sunday.

The number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19, the infectious illness caused by a new coronavirus, jumped by 45 cases over the weekend. The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 23 new cases Saturday and 22 more on Sunday. The individuals who tested positive reside in two dozen counties around the state.

Iowa had 90 positive cases as of Sunday afternoon. There have been 1,215 negative test results from the state hygienic lab, the IDPH reported. The state is still reserving tests for people in high-risk categories, including people age 60 or older or those with underlying health conditions for whom the virus can cause serious illness.

And, for the first time, a case of COVID-19 has been reported in a county neighboring the Iowa Great Lakes. A person in Jackson County, Minnesota, was identified with the virus on Saturday, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Iowa had not seen an increase as high as Saturday since the first three cases were reported in Iowa on March 8. However, testing has increased significantly. Reynolds said Friday that the state hygienic lab is now running three shifts and private labs were also coming online and reporting their results. She said Friday an increase in positive cases was expected in light of increased testing.

Locations and age ranges of the 45 individuals who tested positive over the weekend include:

Allamakee County ― one middle age adult (41-60 years), one older adult (61-80 years)

Black Hawk County ― one middle age adult (41-60 years), one elderly (81 years or older)

Cerro Gordo County ― two adults (18-40 years)

Dallas County ― one older adult (61-80 years)

Dubuque County ― one older adult (61-80 years), two middle-aged adults (41-60 years)

Fayette County ― one adult (18-40 years)

Harrison County ― two older adults (61-80 years)

Henry County ― one adult (18-40 years)

Johnson County ― five adults (18-40 years), two middle age adults (41-60 years), three older adults (61-80 years)

Kossuth County ― one adult (18-40 years)

Linn County ― two adults (18-40 years), two middle age adults (41-60 years)

Muscatine County ― one middle age adult (41-60 years)

Polk County ― two middle age adults (41-60 years), two older adults (61-80 years)

Pottawattamie County ― one middle age adult (41-60 years)

Poweshiek County ― one elderly adult (81 years or older)

Scott County ― one middle-aged adult (41-60 years)

Sioux County ― one older adult (61-80 years)

Story County ― one adult (18-40 years)

Tama County ― two adults (18-40 years), one middle-aged adult (41-60 years)

Washington County ― one middle age adult (41-60 years)

Woodbury County ― one middle-aged adult (41-60 years)

Iowans with questions about COVID-19 can call the state’s hotline. The line is available 24/7 by calling 2-1-1 or 1-800-244-7431.

Dickinson County News Managing Editor Russ Mitchell added a Sunday update, comments from the governor's press conference and Minnesota information to this report.

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