US Virus Outbreak Iowa

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds

CLINTON — With the number of coronavirus cases rising in the state, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Thursday expanded the state’s disaster health proclamation to include more businesses.

“Today, I am expanding upon the public health disaster emergency proclamation that is currently in place,” Reynolds said. “By extending and expanding retail business closures, suspending elective and non-essential medical and dental procedures and removing additional legal barriers to ensure a continued strong response to this disaster.”

Reynolds says all existing closures, such as restaurants, will be extended another week until April 7, and she ordered bookstores, clothing and shoe stores to shut down by 10 p.m. Thursday. The order also applies to stores specializing in jewelry, luggage, cosmetics and beauty supplies, furniture stores, florists and home furnishings.

Under the orders, as of 5 p.m. Friday, all elective, non-essential surgeries and dental services are barred. In an effort to reduce the number of people visiting doctor’s offices, the orders also include directions for the state’s insurance companies to reimburse health care providers “for telehealth visits at the same rate as in-person visits.”

The governor also restated that she recommends schools across the Hawkeye state remain shuttered until April 13.

Reynolds said she and her team look over the metrics daily to determine what action should be taken next.

“So, right now, I think we haven’t made it through the first incubation period,” Reynolds said. “So, we haven’t been able to really gather the data about the decisions we made early on to see if have we been able to bend the curve. I said earlier this week, we are going to continue to see the numbers rise this week.”

Reynolds said there were 179 positive cases in the state Thursday afternoon, up 34 over the previous day. Thirty-one individuals are hospitalized.

Later in the day, Clinton County health officials announced the first confirmed case here. That case was announced after the governor’s afternoon press conference. Clinton County’s patient currently is self-isolating at home, according to local health officials.