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Western Iowa counties remain open despite virus surges

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There are five western Iowa counties that now have more confirmed coronavirus cases than eastern Iowa counties that haven't been allowed to reopen certain businesses.

Leading the way is Crawford County, where there are now 96 confirmed cases — a one-day increase of 18.

Three of the eastern Iowa counties that are still under state restrictions that closed businesses and barred dining at restaurants include Fayette, Iowa and Des Moines counties, which have total confirmed cases of 23, 22 and 21, respectively.

When asked why a county like Crawford — which has more cases than seven of the closed counties — doesn't have those same restrictions, Gov. Kim Reynolds said this morning that state health officials are still reviewing test results to determine a path forward.

However, Denison Mayor Pam Soseman told the Times Herald that her requests for targeted testing at the town's two meat-processing facilities and expanded testing of its residents have been denied.

"I have requested drive-through testing, and I'm being told we are not a 'hot spot,'" Soseman said today. "I have asked that we be proactive as opposed to reactive. I guess we will just have to wait and react. This is so sad."

Guthrie, Plymouth, Pottawattamie and Sioux counties also have more confirmed cases than some of the counties with greater restrictions on businesses.

Reynolds lifted some restrictions on businesses and restaurants last week in 77 of Iowa's 99 counties, including all of western Iowa except for Woodbury County, where cases have soared to 1,296.

Woodbury had its first TestIowa drive-thru testing on Monday.

Carroll County still has just five cases, but local health officials expect that to grow in the coming weeks as the rate of infection peaks in the state. Testing in Carroll has increased in the past two weeks, said Nicole Schwering, public health director for the county.

She said St. Anthony Regional Hospital, McFarland Clinic and Manning Regional Healthcare Center are testing between five and 15 residents each day.

Iowa surpassed 10,000 confirmed cases this week, and 19 more deaths were reported this morning. One of those was in Woodbury County and the rest were in central and eastern Iowa.

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