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Iowa Legislature suspends session for 30 days

By DAVID PITT
Associated Press
DES MOINES — Iowa leaders said Sunday they will halt the current legislative session for at least 30 days after learning the state now has community spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the spreading coronavirus.
Colin Tadlock, the spokesman for House Republicans, said in a statement the leaders made the decision after consulting with the Iowa Department of Public Health and Gov. Kim Reynolds. The move was based on recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention related to mass gatherings to protect vulnerable populations.
Reynolds announced Saturday that Iowa is now seeing the virus circulate among individuals and increased efforts are needed to slow the spread. That includes halting large public gatherings and encouraging people to reduce public interaction, a strategy known as social distancing.
Her spokesman, Pat Garrett, said Sunday she supports the legislature’s decision.
Iowa has 22 cases of COVID-19, including a central Iowa patient not related to travel or a known contact with an infected person.
For most people, the coronavirus 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, including pneumonia.
According to the World Health Organization, people with mild case recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe cases may take three to six weeks to get better.
The House and Senate will convene Monday to consider resolutions regarding continuity of government to ensure delivery of essential government services, the statement released Sunday said.
While the Capitol building will open on Monday, staff members and the public will be required to undergo a health screening that will include checking their body temperature. All scheduled events, tours and receptions have been cancelled.
Members of the public over the age of 60 or with underlying health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease are encouraged to avoid the Capitol.