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White House coronavirus task force report shows Iowa has highest case rate, recommends stricter mitigation measures

Published: Sep. 1, 2020 at 12:37 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A White House coronavirus task force report called for the closure of bars in 61 counties, a statewide mask mandate and plans from universities to test all students as COVID-19 cases increased across the state in recent weeks.

This comes as a recent New York Times report showed Ames and Iowa City to be in the top five of cities having the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the country.

The Des Moines Register reported the task force’s 9-page report recommended far stronger actions than Gov. Reynolds put in place last week. In addition to a statewide mask mandate and bar closures, it urges indoor dining capacity restrictions.

According to the report, the increase in cases and test positivity is in both rural and urban counties, and recommended preventative measures be put in place.

It also recommended the state implement a uniform case reporting process for colleges and universities. This comes as hundreds of cases have been reported at both Iowa State and the University of Iowa, and at least one group at the University of Iowa held a protest pushing for online-only instruction.

The University of Iowa reported 326 new COVID-19 cases on Friday.

At Iowa State, the test positivity rate in the second week of testing was 28.8 percent. Yet on Monday, Iowa State said it would welcome fans back to Jack Trice stadium on the Cyclones’ football season opener.

Additionally, the task force’s report called the spread of the virus at Iowa nursing homes “concerning.”

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