Governor Reynolds Confirms New Coronavirus Case, Outlines State Response

DES MOINES, Iowa - Governor Kim Reynolds has identified the 23rd confirmed case of COVID-19/coronavirus in the state.

The state Department of Public Health says that person resides in Dallas County and is thought to have contracted the virus from community spread. Community spread means the source of the infection cannot be identified. No other information has been released about the latest case.

So far, 18 of the 23 cases are connected to travel, while five are believed to be the result of community spread. The confirmed cases are divided among seven counties, including 15 in Johnson, two each in Allamakee and Dallas and one each in Carroll, Harrison, Polk and Pottawattamie counties.

At a Monday press conference, Governor Reynolds stressed the importance of social distancing to help slow the spread of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends avoiding mass gatherings of 50 or more people and staying six feet away from other people.

Governor Reynolds also announced relief for people affected by coronavirus related layoffs. Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend unemployment benefits are being fast-tracked by waiving some procedural requirements such as a waiting period. "Iowans can expect to be paid within seven to 10 days," said Townsend.

Further, a second shift has been added at the State Hygienic Lab in Coralville where COVID-19 testing is being conducted, allowing it to double the number of tests it conducts from 54 to 108 per day. A public hotline has been established for Iowans with questions about coronavirus. The line is available 24/7 by calling 2-1-1 or 1-800-244-7431. 

In addition, Governor Reynolds said lawmakers have agreed to waive requirements for schools to reschedule days that are canceled due to the coronavirus. Sunday, she recommended that all schools in the state remain closed for four weeks. Most primary and secondary schools are now on spring break.

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