Governor delays decision on easing coronavirus restrictions

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Governor Kim Reynolds has delayed her announcement about when she may ease more pandemic-related restrictions.

“I’m still reviewing some information with the Department of Public Health and my team today and will be announcing the new changes tomorrow,” Reynolds says. “…They don’t really expire until the 15th, so we had some time.”

While Reynolds mentioned hospital data, she declined to specify what she may be evaluating as she weighs lifting her orders that closed businesses and restricted public gatherings. “I know that Iowans and businesses are eager to know what’s next,” Reynolds says, “but as I’ve said all along, these decisions must be made carefully and driven by data and I look forward to providing that update tomorrow.”

The latest information from the state shows 18 more Iowans have died of COVID-19 and state officials have added 539 more cases to the overall tally of positive test results among Iowans. That includes 319 Iowans who were tested in Nebraska and work at a packing plant just across the border from Sioux City.

Iowa Department of Public Health deputy director Sarah Reisetter) says she can’t speak to why Nebraska delayed the release of this information for two weeks. “We do believe that the employees did receive their test result,” Reisetter says, “but this will allow Iowa staff in the local public health agency to start doing that contact tracing and case investigation so we can help to identify any close contacts those individuals may have had and try to give them appropriate public health guidance.”

The governor announced late this morning a “Test Iowa” site will be set up in Storm Lake, which is home to a packing plant. Drive-through COVID-19 testing will be conducted in Storm Lake starting Saturday.

— Radio Iowa

This story originally appeared on the Voice of Muscatine. Read More local stories here.

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