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Iowa virus cases rise amid calls for masks, bar closures

DES MOINES (AP) — Iowa continued to see significant transmission of the coronavirus on Tuesday with the state reporting more than 600 new cases and a federal report pegging Iowa with the nation’s highest rate of virus spread in the country.

As of Tuesday morning, state health data shows 684 new confirmed virus cases in the past day with the total case count now at 65,397. Nine more people died for a total of 1,121 deaths.

The state health department reported 40 people admitted to hospitals in the last 24 hours. Since late June hospital admissions have been climbing as have the number of those remaining hospitalized and those in intensive care.

The Des Moines Register reported Monday that a White House Coronavirus Task Force document from Aug. 30 said “Iowa is in the red zone for cases, indicating more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population last week, with the highest rate in the country.”

The document said mask mandates should be in place statewide and that in 61 of Iowa’s 99 counties, bars should be closed. The report also called for testing all returning college students for the virus and reducing seating at indoor dining.