Gov. Reynolds announces new COVID-19 cases, recommends Iowa schools close temporarily

Iow Gov. Kim Reynolds (Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0,  License Link)
Iow Gov. Kim Reynolds (Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0, License Link)(KWQC)
Published: Mar. 15, 2020 at 8:27 PM CDT
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Gov. Kim Reynolds is recommending Iowa schools close for four weeks to help limit the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

Reynolds says she made the decision after it was determined there was substantial community spread of COVID-19 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,” Gov. Reynolds said. “I am now recommending that all Iowa schools close for a period of four weeks to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

Reynolds says she is making this recommendation in consultation with the

and based on CDC guidelines.

Officials with the Governor's Office say this is only a recommendation. It is not mandatory, and it will be up to districts to decide what they do

State officials say they are developing policies to make sure residents have continued access to child care during this time, including meals for low-income students.

Gov. Reynolds will hold a press conference Monday to further discuss the state's efforts to combat the spread of the virus.

Earlier Sunday, the IDPH was notified of four new positive cases of Iowans with COVID-19, bringing the total up to 22.

Health officials say two cases are related to international travel. The patients are residents of Allamakee County. One is a middle-aged adult between the ages of 41 and 60. The other is a child under 18.

Officials say the third case is a middle-aged Johnson County resident with no identified travel-related risk or exposure to a known case and is considered the second case of community spread in Iowa.

The fourth case is a middle-aged Polk County resident and indicates a third case of community spread.

Health officials say one of the four new cases was the first Iowa test conducted by a national lab. With testing options now expanding, they expect the number of positive cases to increase.

Also on Sunday, Reynolds signed a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency continuing the proclamation signed on March 9, allowing retailers that sell liquor, beer, wine, carbonated beverages, and other beverages with an Iowa beverage container deposit to stop accepting empty cans and bottles for the duration of this disaster emergency.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Those most at risk of the virus are older adults, and individuals with underlying health conditions.