Adjacent counties affected by Governor's new Region 6 order

By: 
Jake Ryder
Eclipse News-Review

As part of her press conference on Thursday morning, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced further physical distancing mitigation measures for counties that neighbor Butler County, including Grundy, Black Hawk and Bremer counties, in reaction to data from those counties related to the coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19. No extra measures have been announced for Butler County.

Social gatherings in counties comprising Regional Medical Coordination Center Region 6 will be limited to members in the immediate household, with limited exceptions for weddings and funerals, which still may not exceed a 10-person limit. All other gatherings for what Reynolds referred to as "social, community, recreational, leisure or sporting activities" will not be allowed through April 30. The measures take effect at 11:59 p.m. tonight, Thursday, April 16 and apply only to counties in Region 6: Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Grundy, Howard, Jones, Linn and Winneshiek.

When needing to make essential trips outside of their homes, residents are expected to continue keeping six feet of distance between each other whenever possible.

In her proclamation, Gov. Reynolds noted "all peace officers of the state are hereby called upon to assist in the enforcement of the provisions of this Proclamation."

Iowa's Regional Medical Coordination Centers divides Iowa into six regions, which the governor and the Iowa Department of Public Health have used to monitor specific data about the effect of the coronavirus in different parts of the state.

The IDPH monitors these regions on a 12-point scale, accumulating points based on the percentage of the population over the age of 65, the percent of identified cases requiring hospitalization, the rate of identified cases per 100,000 population in the past 14 days, and the number of outbreaks at long-term care facilities. When regions reach a sum of at least 10 points, they are subject to further restrictions and the Governor may use the numbers to extend a shelter-in-place order statewide. A document further explaining this system is available on the Iowa Department of Public Health website.

Regions with a sum of 0-3 are asked to follow preparation and awareness guidelines for the coronavirus. Regions with a point total from 4-9 are subject to social distancing and mitigation strategies; the other five regions of Iowa currently fall under this designation, including Region 2, which contains Butler County. Region 2 is currently rated at a 7.

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