DES MOINES – Iowa reported 508 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the second highest number of epidemics, and nine additional deaths. This brought the death toll for Iowa to 136, and pushed the number of cases to more than 6,300.
Local total has not changed.
Governor Kim Reynolds said 98 percent of newly confirmed cases in 22 countries excluded from the proclamation on Monday reduced some restrictions.
The number of people tested for the virus in the entire state is approaching 40,000. That’s a significant increase in where the country has been in the past few weeks, but little of the testing is done in the Wapello County area. Only 265 tests have been carried out locally. Figures in neighboring countries are even lower. 144 of the Mahaksa Regency tests are the second highest in the area, while Jefferson County has 123 tests.
Most country testing efforts center on locations where outbreaks have been identified that are associated with long-term care facilities or meat processing plants. Polk County, which held the state’s first drive-through test site last week, registered 4,653 tests conducted in all. The district is also home to six of the 23 confirmed outbreaks in the state at long-term care centers.
“Testing, case management and contact tracing remain important components for understanding and managing viral activity,” Reynolds said. “Tomorrow, the second Iowa Test site will open in Waterloo at Crossroads Mall.”
Restaurants, fitness centers, retailers and malls in the remaining 77 districts can be opened May 1, but their capacity is limited to 50 percent. Reynolds predicted Iowa residents would “be curious about how the experience would be different.”
Sarah Reisetter, deputy director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, said there would be some differences. Supermarkets, such as buffets and salad bars, are still prohibited. And restaurants that choose to reopen are encouraged to use the reservation system only.
“All employees must be screened before each shift, and immediately expelled from the workplace if they have symptoms,” said Reisetter. “Employees with direct customer contact should wear masks that are washed every day and work stations should be placed at least six feet apart, if possible.”
Reisetter also underlines the responsibility for customers to take preventative measures. Those who feel sick should not eat outside or shop, and people need to understand whether they are at high risk on their own.
“I want to remind you at high risk that you should continue to stay at home as much as possible. If you decide to leave your home, it is important to continue to maintain social distance whenever possible, “he said.