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Dubuque County Public Health Department details reasons for importance of keeping mask mandates in place

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 11:05 PM CST
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Governor Kim Reynolds announced Friday she would be lifting the statewide mask mandate effective Sunday. She said, by this point, she trusts Iowans know what needs to be done to keep COVID-19 spread under control.

The Dubuque County Public Health Department, however, said one of its largest concerns is the B117 variant, already confirmed in Iowa.

According to Mary Rose Corrigan, public health specialist with the department, that is why they are recommending the local mask mandates stay in place.

“We know that it spreads more easily and it is looking like it can make people sicker,” she explained. “And so, we want to have the lowest threshold of community spread and new cases as possible when that starts to spread and take off, because it will.”

Mandates in both the city of Dubuque and Dubuque County require people three years and older to wear face covering while indoors.

The mandates also require businesses put up signage indicating customers they need to wear masks while inside the establishment.

Governor Reynolds has mentioned she takes hospitalization numbers into consideration when deciding to impose or lift restrictions, but Corrigan said, even though hospitalization numbers in Iowa are down, that does not mean people can let up.

“We know that hospitalizations can increase very quickly and hospitals could become overrun and very quickly,” Corrigan mentioned. “So we have to keep monitoring and be ready for that and continue to do everything we can to prevent our hospitals and healthcare systems from being overwhelmed because, especially right now, they are all helping us with vaccinations.”

On Wednesday, Dubuque County reported 40 new positive coronavirus cases while 12 people remain hospitalized with the virus.

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