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Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds took to the airwaves Monday night to lecture Iowans on how they are dealing with the risk of COVID-19, an illness that has been around for nearly a year. Iowans were forced to shut down much of the state back in the spring for 15 days to flatten the curve.

Hundreds of days later, Gov. Reynolds has now tightened the screws to Iowans just before the holidays.

Reynolds said Iowa is seeing a significant increase with the threat of COVID-19.

“Right now, the pandemic in Iowa is worse than it has ever been,” she said.

In the past two weeks, there have been more than 52,000 new cases of the virus in Iowa. She said there had been the same number of cases from the beginning of the virus in March through mid-August.

“For some Iowans who have experienced the virus firsthand, that may not seem like something to worry about because for many COVID-19 has been relatively mild,” Reynolds said. “Some having no symptoms at all. And I’m grateful for that.”

However, the mild cases have created a mindset where Iowans have become complacent and “lost that sight of why it was so important to flatten the curve” — eight months ago, mind you.

Now the healthcare system is being “pushed to the brink,” Reynolds said. One in every four hospital patients has the virus. As cases climb, she added hospitalizations will as well. In late October, new daily hospitalizations were just approaching the 100 mark. Now they have topped 200 a day.

“And that is not sustainable,” Reynolds said.

She then made an emotional appeal.

“Will there be enough first responders to help? Will trauma teams be available? Will you get the care that you need? Not if we don’t act,” Reynolds said. “That’s why I’m talking directly to you tonight. Not just as your governor, but as a daughter, as a mother, as a grandmother. It’s up to all of us so that the worst-case scenarios that I just described don’t become our reality.”

Reynolds is targeting activities and environments with the potential to make a significant impact in a short amount of time. She predicted the changes wouldn’t be easy or popular.

Beginning Tuesday, when in an indoor public space and unable to socially distance for 15 minutes or longer, masks are required. Those same requirements apply to visitors and employees in state buildings.

Indoor events will be limited to 15 people. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 30. This includes wedding and funeral receptions, family gatherings and conventions.

All organized youth and adult sports activities are suspended, with the exception of high school, collegiate and professional sports.

Restaurants and bars are required to close by 10 p.m. and cannot host private gatherings of more than 15 people. Masks must be worn by staff who have direct contact with customers and customers must wear masks when not seated at the table.

In-patient elective procedures will be reduced by 50 percent.

All measures will be reassessed in a week and additional measures may be added based on what is seen with hospital capacity.

“No one wants to do this,” Reynolds said. “I don’t want to do this, esp as we’re coming into a holiday season that is normally filled with joy. I cherish Thanksgiving with my family and this year we’re postponing that. It’s to keep them safe and it’s to keep you safe. and I’m asking you tonight to work with me. To think of your family, your friends and all of your fellow Iowans.”

Reynolds said she knows it’s been a long eight months, but she’s hopeful that a vaccine will be here soon.

“Until then, it’s important to step up and slow the spread to make sure that Iowans stay safe,” she said.

“This isn’t about mandates, this isn’t about government. There isn’t enough law enforcement in the country to make sure that every Iowan is wearing a mask when they should. There aren’t enough sheriffs in Iowa’s 99 counties to shut down every non-compliant bar. If Iowans don’t buy into this, we lose. Businesses will close once again, more schools will be forced to go online and our healthcare system will fail and the cost in human life will be high. So now is the time to come together for the greater good. To look out for each other not because you’re told to, but because it’s the right thing to do.”

Author: Jacob Hall