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Governor’s moves welcomed by area lawmakers

-AP file photo
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds updates the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak during a news conference Sept. 29 in Johnston. One of every 100 residents of Iowa received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis in the week that ended on Sunday, and hospitals are starting to fill up.

Local lawmakers welcomed Monday evening’s directives from Gov. Kim Reynolds to combat the spread of COVID-19.

“She is trying to balance this so we can slow down the spread and at the same time enable people to keep working,” said state Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink, R-Fort Dodge. “She’s in a tough spot, and I think she’s doing a great job.”

State Rep. Ann Meyer, R-Fort Dodge, also acknowledged that Reynolds is “walking a very fine line of trying to keep people healthy and keeping our businesses open.”

Meyer, who is a nurse and nursing instructor, said she’s pleased that the governor has placed limits on the number of people who can gather at events both indoors and outdoors. She said contact tracing has shown that gatherings are what is fueling the spread of the disease.

She said she would have liked to have seen the governor issue a “definitive business mandate to wear masks.” Such a mandate, she said, would require people to wear masks in stores and other businesses. Data shows that masks are effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19, she said.

“I feel like we as leaders in Webster County need to step up and wear our masks whenever we are in public,” she said.

State Rep. Mike Sexton, R-Rockwell City, suffered from a bout of COVID-19 that was diagnosed the week of the Nov. 3 election.

“I farmed the whole time,” he said. “I spent the whole time in the tractor.”

He said Reynolds’ moves are necessary because Iowa hospitals are in “a crisis situation.”

“We have enough beds,” he said. “We run the risk of running out of nurses and doctors to take care of the people. What good are the beds if we run out of the caregivers?”

COVID-19 has hit close to home for state Rep. Rob Bacon, R-Slater. His 97-year-old father is now suffering from the disease, and the family cannot see him.

“She desn’t have a mask mandate, but common sense would tell people when you’re out in public, wear one,” Bacon said of the governor’s directives.

Whether or not Reynolds has the constitutional authority to issue such directives isn’t exactly clear, according to the lawmakers, but Sexton said no one is likely to challenge her on the issue. He said Republicans will support the Republican governor, and Democrats also want something done about the COVID-19 situation.

“We can see what’s going on in our communities and the need to do something,” he said.

Meyer said there is hope that the pandemic will end. She said two vaccines are being developed and could be widely distributed in the summer of 2021.

“This isn’t going to last forever,” she said.

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