LEON, Iowa — As of Wednesday Decatur County in southern Iowa is alone in staying Covid-19 free. “People are very proud of what they are doing to keep everything going and under control,” said Leon City Councilmember Sue Kelly.
Despite keeping the virus under control, residents in the county and in Leon, the county seat, are still forced to the same restrictions as the Polk County with well over 3,000 cases. “Because there have been no cases people loosen up. Do I really need to wear a mask? Do I really need to social distance? We don’t have any cases so it’s been a really difficult dilemma,” said Emily Layton who lives in Decatur County.
The community wants to stay safe because they realize how devastating the smallest outbreak could be. “With a small town like this it could go away so quickly with the pandemic. We have a husband and wife who are a hairstylist and tattoo artist and they are married and so they had been shut down and we worry. Are they going to come back?,” Layton said.
Not everyone agrees with the restrictions in town, but there seems to still be a mutual respect. “There’s people that believe it’s a hoax but I don’t think it is and they have been doing their best to keep distance and keep everything sterilized,” said Kelly.
Nationwide protests to reopen the economy and states, including Iowa, have seen lawsuits against the government over certain restrictions. Decatur County is standing firm with the Governor’s orders. Kelly said, “The Governor can’t go from town to town and figure out who’s got what so we just have to follow the rules.”
Because of zero positive cases, city leaders say there is one area where the community’s patience is wearing thin. Allowing kids to be kids again and casually swim at the community pool. “Our poor kids who have been in their homes for 2 1/2 months. They wanna be at the pool so we can take precautions to make that happen and we are hoping it happens,” Layton said.
The county has multiple long term care facilities. The U.S. Census Bureau shows 13 counties with a smaller population including Monroe and Osceola which have 22 and 29 positive cases respectively. “We are ok we are going to figure this out. We are not going to protest. We are going to do everything to protect eachother and we respect eachother,” said Layton.
Wednesday Governor opened pools across the state but only for swimming laps and swimming lessons.