Gov. Kim Reynolds April 16 announced plans to implement additional mitigation measures in northeast Iowa after the multi-county region reached the highest possible level on the state’s COVID-19 risk chart.

The residents of Jones, Linn and 12 other counties now are prohibited to engage in virtually any gathering with people outside of their immediate households.

The region includes Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Grundy, Howard, Jones, Linn and Winneshiek counties.

Exceptions can be made for occurrences such as weddings and funerals, but only 10 or fewer visitors can be present at a time.

The new proclamation also stipulates that, “All people who do leave their homes must practice social distancing by making every reasonable effort to stay at least six feet away from all people other than members of the same household who reside together.”

The new restrictions went into effect at 11:59 p.m. April 16 and will be in place at least through April 30.

Essential workers still can report for duty. However, “businesses are encouraged to follow guidance provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health,” Reynolds said during a press conference this morning.

“Residents of (the region) and all other Iowans should take personal responsibility for their health and the health of others,” she said.

As of April 20, 15 positive cases had been reported in Jones County. Statewide, the number of confirmed cases was 3,159 with 79 deaths reported.

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