More News 8.21.20: Disaster Declarations and Local C-19 Data Update and Importance of Masks
(For more information from state and local officials check out the images at the top of this post)
A White House coronavirus task force has issued new recommendations for Iowa to mandate face masks and close bars in the state's largest cities to slow the spread of COVID-19. So far, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds hasn't acted on those recommendations. The Des Moines Register reports that the new recommendations were included in an Aug. 9 report from the task force. The task force's leader, Dr. Deborah Birx, discussed the recommendations last week with Iowa’s state epidemiologist, Dr. Caitlin Pedati. The report also said bars should be closed, gyms should be closed or limited to 25% of capacity, and social gatherings should be limited to 25 or fewer people in 17 metro areas and 48 counties.
Several Siouxland counties are included in a request for help from the USDA after the powerful derecho storm on August 10th.
And, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds put out a news release this afternoon saying early this week she requested a Secretarial Disaster Designation for 57 of Iowa’s 99 counties. This list includes Woodbury, Plymouth, Cherokee, Ida, Monona, Sac and Crawford counties.
The disaster designation, would allow Iowa producers to access USDA disaster programs including low-interest Farm Agency Loans.
Preliminary estimates show severe damage of more than 3.5 million acres of corn and 2.5 million acres of soybeans, with millions more acres impacted in varying levels.
And, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds extended the state Disaster Declaration for another 30 days. The move mainly impacts business at bars and restaurants where owners are required allow social distancing for customers.
Officials with Siouxland District Health say updated data from the Iowa Department of Public Health shows infections have still stayed consistent in Woodbury County for several weeks. But, that’s not necessarily a good thing. The currently two-week positivity rate of testing is 8%. For the virus to be considered contained local health officials say the level should be 2% or less. They say wearing a mask is proven to reduce the spread of the virus.