SUBSCRIBE We are providing free community access to all of our coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, please consider helping keep your community newspaper strong by subscribing today and receive access to all our work.

Governor Kim Reynolds announced an expansion of the Public Health Disaster Emergency Proclamation that is currently in place for the state of Iowa during a press conference April 2.

Reynolds extended school and retail closures until April 30, along with continuing the suspension of elective and non-essential medical and dental procedures until that date.

“Keeping Iowa students out of classrooms is a very difficult decision, but it remains necessary for now,” Reynolds said during her daily press briefing in Des Moines. “We anticipate the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Iowa will continue to grow, and keeping schools closed for an extended amount of time will help protect the safety of our students, educators and school staff, reduce the burden and flatten the curve on our health care system and workforce, and of course reduce the risk to our most vulnerable Iowans and ultimately save lives.”

As with her previous recommendation, Reynolds has not yet ordered schools to remain shuttered for the remainder of the school year. She announced the state’s total of positive cases grew by 66 to 614 total positive tests. Eleven Iowans have died from the virus.

“At this point I am not ordering schools to close for the remainder of the school year,” Reynolds said. “As we have done with all COVID-19 mitigation decisions, we will continue to monitor the situation, assess the measures that we have in place and use data to make the right decisions at the right time.”