DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) – Governor Kim Reynolds announced on Sunday that she is recommending that schools in Iowa should close for four weeks after the discovery of the existence of substantial community spread of coronavirus in the state.
“Based on new information today from the Iowa Department of Public Health, now is the time to move to the next level of response. I am now recommending that all Iowa schools close for a period of four weeks to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Gov. Reynolds.
She made a video announcement Sunday night on her YouTube page.
Gov. Reynolds is making the recommendation to close schools for one month in consultation with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and based on CDC guidelines.
The governor said on Sunday that the IDPH was notified for four more positive cases of COVID, bringing the total to 22 positive cases.
According to the IDPH:
- The first case is a middle-age adult between the ages of 41-60
- The second case is a child between the ages of 0-18
- The third case is a middle-age Johnson County resident with no identified travel-related risk or exposure to a known COVID-19 case and is considered the second community spread case in Iowa
- The fourth case is a middle-age adult that lives in Polk County and is indicated the third case of community spread
One of the new cases was the first Iowa test to be conducted by a national lab.
Gov. Reynolds said that the state is expecting the number of positive cases to go up with testing options currently expanding.
The State of Iowa is developing policies to ensure the continued access to childcare during this time of emergency, including meals for low-income students.
On Sunday, Gov. Reynolds signed a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency continuing the proclamation that was signed on March 9.
It will allow retailers that sell beer, carbonated beverages, liquor, wine, and other beverages with an Iowa beverage container deposit to stop accessing empty cans and bottles for the duration of this disaster emergency.
On Sunday evening, the CDC updated its mass-gathering guidance to postpone any events with 50 or more people for the next eight weeks.
The goal of postponing events is to reduce the introduction of the virus into new communities and slow down the spread of infection in the communities that are already affected by the coronavirus.
Gov. Reynolds said the recommendation is not intended to supersede the advice of local public health officials.