New COVID-19 cases prompt Iowa governor to recommend school closures
By SCOTT McFETRIDGE
DES MOINES — Gov. Kim Reynolds recommended Sunday night that Iowa schools close for four weeks after learning of more cases that indicate the coronavirus is spreading through the state.
Reynolds had said Saturday that she didn’t support cancelling school, but a day later she said it was time for schools to stop holding classes after four more residents tested positive for the virus. The new cases bring the total to 22 Iowa residents who have tested positive, including one child between the ages of 0 and 18.
“We have substantial community spread that takes us to a new level,” Reynolds said.
Two of the people who tested positive had recently traveled internationally but two others hadn’t traveled, indicating there was growing “community spread” of the virus.
Those who had traveled live in Allamakee County. The two who hadn’t traveled live in Johnson County and Polk County.
There are now three people who have tested positive without traveling to areas where the virus is more prevalent.
“We know that these are unprecedented times and we understand the school closures have an impact on children, families and the workforce but this next step goes a long way toward protecting our vulnerable Iowans and mitigate further spread of the virus,” Reynolds said.
Many colleges have opted to shift to online classes and Des Moines Public Schools has extended spring break because of the disease.
For most people, the COVID-19 causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness. Most people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.
Iowa officials said one of the positive tests was conducted by a national lab and that the availability of more testing options made it likely the number of positive tests would rise.