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Iowa Gov. Reynolds closes bars in 6 counties after spike in COVID-19 among young adults

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds gives an update on the coronavirus in the state Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020.
Credit: AP
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds gave an update on the status of new COVID-19 cases in Iowa during a press conference at the Iowa National Guard in Johnston, Friday, Friday, May 1, 2020. (Bryon Houlgrave/The Des Moines Register via AP, Pool)

IOWA, USA — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds gave a press conference on the coronavirus in the state Aug. 27, 2020.

Reynolds signed a new public health disaster proclamation closing all bars, taverns, night clubs and breweries in six counties starting Thursday night due to a spike in coronavirus cases, especially among young adults: Black Hawk, Dallas, Johnson, Linn, Polk and Story Counties. Restaurants in those counties must stop serving alcohol by 10 p.m.

Reynolds said 23% of all new positive cases statewide were among young adults from the ages 19 to 24. 

"While we still know this population is less likely to be severely impacted by COVID-19, it is increasing the virus activity in the community and spilling over to other segments of the population," Reynolds said.

In Johnson County, where the University of Iowa is located, 58% of confirmed cases over the past 14 days was among that demographic. In Story County, where Iowa State University is, 67% of positive cases in the past 14 days were also that demographic.

The only county with new restrictions without a college or university is Dallas County which includes West Des Moines. 

When asked why she took this action now after seeing parties on campuses, Reynolds said she "doesn't take these decisions lightly." 

"We felt that it was important to get in front of what could potentially be a bad flu season," Reynolds said.

Reynolds also said gatherings of 10 people or more must be socially distanced.

Face masks are encouraged to prevent the spread of the coronavirus but are not being required.

The new proclamation expires on Sunday, Sept. 20.

Dr. Caitlin Pedati, Medical Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, said the state hygenic lab's COVID-19 testing capacity is around 4,000 tests per day.