Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday (5/12) she’s still considering how far to go in lifting local public health restrictions, as the state reported 18 more deaths from the coronavirus.
Reynolds had planned to announce which business closures that she would allow to expire Friday (5/15) and which she would extend through May. But she said she was still looking at data, and now expects an announcement Wednesday.
Restaurants in 22 counties remain closed. Statewide, bars, salons, barber shops, movie theaters, casinos, museums and several other businesses are ordered closed until Friday.
Reynolds has hinted that parts of eastern Iowa that remain under restrictions, such as Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, are on a positive trajectory and could see some lifted.
But the Des Moines area has seen a large increase in cases, and cities like Sioux City and Waterloo are still managing the aftermath of huge meatpacking plant outbreaks.
Experts have warned that reopening too soon could lead to another wave of infections.
Meanwhile, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday that 19 inmates at the county jail had tested positive for COVID-19. The office said in a news release that the jail is keeping affected inmates in isolation.
The state reported more than 500 new cases Tuesday, including 319 Sioux City-area workers who tested positive at a Tyson beef plant in Nebraska last month. Nebraska had delayed reporting those results to Iowa.
The 18 new deaths brought Iowa’s official count to 289.