In western Iowa, the Harrison County board of supervisors has approved a countywide mask mandate, but the requirement won’t be in place quite yet.
Harrison County Public Health Administrator Brad Brake says the county is still figuring out the next steps. He says the document will be published in local newspapers next week and will likely take effect several days later.
Brake says, “For our schools that don’t currently have a requirement in place, it gives me time to talk through what that looks like for those schools.”
Two school districts don’t require masks on their own, but the countywide requirement forces them to. The requirement applies to schools and other indoor public settings — like pharmacies, grocery stores and hardware stores.
There’s no enforcement behind it but Brake says he hopes it draws attention to how real the pandemic is there.
Brake says, “If nothing else, people have learned more and we will see an uptick in mask use until we have better measures that can protect our residents.”
Some exemptions include people who are under two years old and while someone is exercising. The county’s coronavirus infection rate has stayed above 20 percent since October 9th. Three of its four long-term care facilities currently have outbreaks.
By Katie Peikes, Iowa Public Radio