DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa is in the red zone for COVID-19 cases, that’s according to the latest White House Coronavirus Taskforce State Report.
Last week 30 counties were considered “red zone” counties, those with 101 or more cases per 100,000 people.
This week another eight counties were added, and the virus spread is considered moderate to high in 82% of the state.
Polk County, Woodbury County, and Dubuque County each had some of the highest numbers of new cases in the last three weeks, representing 24% of new cases in Iowa.
“Before we were really able to tie that to maybe a nursing home outbreak or a manufacturing plant and now what we’re seeing is more community spread throughout the state and we’re seeing more of our hospitals in general seeing an uptick in numbers,” Governor Kim Reynolds said.
Because of the uptick, the White House Taskforce is recommending what Governor Reynolds has so far avoided — a face mask mandate.
The report reads quote, “it is critical that mitigation efforts increase to include mask wearing, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and avoiding crowds in public and social gatherings in private to stop the increasing spread among residents.”
The report also recommends
- Getting a flu shot
- Work with university students to keep cases low in preparation for thanksgiving break
- Thanksgiving is a concern for the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar who visited Thursday and warned of the risks of even small gatherings.
“That means also family gatherings, it means neighborhood get togethers, just because you’re related to each other doesn’t mean you can’t transmit the disease to each other,” Azar said.
WHO 13 reached out to the Iowa Department of Public Health and they had not seen this report and were unable to give a comment.