With hospitals full and a 45% Covid positivity rate in Iowa, health officials beg for stronger steps

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Over the past few weeks, Dana Jones has grown increasingly alarmed at how Iowans are handling Covid-19, with hospitals running out of intensive care unit beds and the state surpassing a 45 percent positivity rate.So, Jones, a nurse in Iowa City, initially felt relieved to hear Monday that Gov. Kim Reynolds would sign a proclamation that included a statewide mask mandate — but then she read it.The proclamation only requires face coverings in public when someone is within 6 feet of other people for 15 minutes or more, and there are a number of exceptions. Bars and restaurants can stay open, but have to close by 10 p.m., and masks are not required for people exercising in gyms.“It’s not enough,” said Jones, 39. “I know it’s better than nothing, and at this point I’ll take anything we can get, but I was frustrated there were so many carve-outs, because I am so afraid, I just don’t know what these coming months will bring.”Iowa has the third highest rate of new Covid-19 cases nationally, behind North and South Dakota. The entire state of Iowa, like much of the Midwest, is in the “red zone,” according to the latest …

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