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Health officials reported nearly 40 new cases in Story County over 24-hour span

David Mullen
Staff Writer
Officials from the Iowa Department of Public Health reported 38 Story County residents tested positive for the novel coronavirus over a 24-hour span, the highest number to date. File photo

Officials from the Iowa Department of Public Health reported 38 Story County residents tested positive for the novel coronavirus over a 24-hour span, the highest number to date.

On Wednesday, the New York Times reported Ames has currently the fifth-highest average daily growth rate of cases in the United States. Since June 1, 207 positive cases in Story County have been confirmed by health officials, which is 63% of the county’s total cases.

Since the beginning of the month, the county’s first long-term care facility, Bethany Life in Story City, confirmed a COVID-19 outbreak at the facility, as well as Iowa State University’s athletic department announcing that ten student-athletes have tested positive for the virus.

Steve Sullivan, a spokesperson for Mary Greeley Medical Center and Story County Public Health, confirmed the new tests on Thursday, while also mentioning, “the majority of the new cases have been within the 19 to 25 year range.”

Of the 139 cases diagnosed over the last seven-days, the most to date since the virus was first reported in Story County, at least 75% of the cases have been reported in individuals aging from 19 to 25, Sullivan said.

During Thursday’s daily press conference, Gov. Kim Reynolds said Iowa is “now in the recovery phase.”

“Although COVID-19 as a public health concern is not over and we continued to manage it everyday, we’re well into the recovery phase,” Reynolds said on Thursday. “With the beginning of a robust recovery underway, we can approach Iowa’s comeback in a number of ways.”

Reynolds later told a reporter Iowans are able to choose whether or not to wear a mask.

“We’re going to deal with the data we have in Iowa and base our recommendations on what we’re seeing happening on the ground,” Reynolds said. “We’ve said all along (that) individuals are responsible; I trust Iowans, I trust our businesses, they’re doing the right thing to not only take care of their employees, but to take care of their customers and their clients ..Iowans need to decide that.”

“The more information that we give them, they personally can make the decision whether they feel that they need to wear a mask or not. If you’re social distancing and it’s not an issue, it’s not necessary. If you’re out and about and that’s a concern of yours, then you should have a face covering with you so that you can put that on.”

Regarding masks, “Iowans can make the decision for themselves,” Reynolds said.

“We don’t know the health of every Iowan or if they have underlying conditions, so the best thing that I think we can do is provide them the information and educate them,” Reynold said.

Since Story County’s first reported case of COVID-19 on March 20, a total of 329 county residents have tested positive for the virus, which has led to three deaths. Of the 329 cases in Story County, 135 individuals have recovered from the virus.

Throughout the state, a total of 24,737 individuals have tested positive for the virus which has led to the deaths of 677 Iowans. Since the pandemic was first reported in the state, over 239,000 Iowans have been tested and have a positive rate of 10.3%, according to state health officials.