Officials in Des Moines have made playground equipment in city parks off-limits, to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
City bus routes in Cedar Rapids will be suspended on Wednesday. Iowa hospitals are postponing elective surgeries and Governor Kim Reynolds is asking Iowans to voluntarily shelter in place.
“If you do not need to leave your house to help your family or other Iowans respond to this disaster, stay home,” Reynolds said during a Monday afternoon news conference.
The governor of Illinois issued a “shelter in place” order this weekend and Wisconsin’s governor plans to take that step today, but Reynolds says the data about the spread of COVID-19 in Iowa does not indicate that step is necessary.
“Just overall traffic has seen a 47 percent drop from a year ago, but truck traffic is normal,” Reynolds said. “…People that are providing the essential services are out still there, but Iowans are starting to hear the message and they are staying home.”
Reynolds announced Monday that 105 Iowans in 26 counties have tested positive for COVID-19 and seven have been hospitalized. State officials say those numbers are expected to increase as more testing is done. President Trump cited Iowa’s current data during a Monday evening news conference as he talked about reopening areas of the county and the economy as quickly as possible.
Reynolds is asking Iowans to practice social distancing and go solo when they run essential errands at the grocery store or pharmacy.
“We are not at a place where we’re going to order a shelter-in-place or a stay-at-home,” Reynolds said. “…We want to make sure that we’re making these decisions based on data and based on metrics so that we can be consistent in what we’re telling Iowans to make sure that we’re not shutting down a state where we don’t need to.”
Reynolds posted a video online last night, with this message: “stay home and help us save a life.”