Reynolds lifts restrictions on athletic spectator limits

By: 
Travis Fischer

Governor Kim Reynolds renewed the COVID-19 Public Health Disaster proclamation for the New Year on Thursday, January 7, extending most of the existing public health measures and modifying others for another month.

Notably, as of January 8, the spectator limit for sporting events has been lifted. Previously spectators at high school sporting events were limited to two visitors per student participating.

Social distancing between groups of spectators is still required to be enforced by event organizers, and masks are still mandatory for all spectators and non-athletic participants during the gathering.

The current Public Health Proclamation still maintains many of the rules and regulations that have been in place for most of last year, including some of the restrictions implemented during November’s spike in cases.

Community social and leisure events, such as weddings, festivals, fundraisers, or other such gatherings, are limited to ten people unless the organizer ensures that all participants maintain six feet of distance between each group.

Likewise, all businesses are to take reasonable precautions to ensure the health of their employees and customers, including utilizing employee screening and social distancing practices.

For most people, the use of masks or face coverings is still mandated in any indoor public space where people will be within six feet of each other for more than 15 minutes.

In restaurants and bars, no more than eight people may be seated together unless all members of the group are part of the same household, and all staff and customers must wear a mask when not seated.

The current term of the public health proclamation will continue through February 6, where it will likely be renewed for another 30 days.

As of Sunday, January 3, there have been 296,681 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, increasing the 284,715 total from the week prior by 11,966, continuing an upward trend in new cases since the start of the year.

In the last week, 4% of new cases have been among the elderly (age 80+), 18% among older adults (60-79); 29% among middle aged adults (40-59); 36% among young adults (18-39); and 13% among children.

With 256,152 considered recovered, that leaves roughly 36,391 Iowans currently known to be fighting the disease, keeping the number of active cases in the state at roughly the same level they were a week ago.

On a more positive note, hospitalizations are continuing to trend down, with 555 hospitalized as of Sunday, including 96 in an ICU. A small, but welcome drop in the more severe cases.

When it comes to testing, a total of 3,251,605 COVID-19 tests have now been performed on 1,395,824 individuals since the pandemic began, including 2,309,188 PCR tests and 942,417 antigen tests. In the last week, the state has processed 67,882 PCR tests and 69,917 antigen tests.

In addition, 89,620 Iowans have undergone serology testing for coronavirus antibodies, which would indicate that they have had the virus. Of that number, 10,057, about 11%, have tested positive for antibodies.

Another 192 COVID-19 related deaths have been recorded in the last week, bringing the statewide total to 4,138.

In total, approximately 2,436 elderly (58.39%); 1,141 older adults (34.19%), 245 middle aged adults (5.92%), 39 young adults (.94%), and at least one child (.05%) have died from the virus since the pandemic began.

After several weeks of virtually no activity regarding long term care facility resident deaths, the state tracking website has updated their count, bringing the total from 1,139 last week to 1,680. The massive spike in deaths, more than twice the number reported from the statewide total, indicates that long term care resident deaths are being tracked and reported independently of the overall state tracking.

On the upside, the number of long term care facilities reporting outbreaks has dropped again, with a reduction of 17 bringing the total to 90 facilities consisting of 2,141 positive cases among residents and staff with 1,073 considered recovered.

 

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