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Health care workers account for 20 percent of Iowa coronavirus cases

Health care workers account for 20 percent of Iowa coronavirus cases
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More than 1 in 5 coronavirus cases confirmed in Iowa are health care workers, the state's Department of Health said Tuesday.

Deputy health director Sarah Reisetter said medical professionals comprised 23 percent of the more than 1,000 people in Iowa who have tested positive for the virus, underscoring "why it is so important for people to stay at home, because we need to make sure that that health care workforce is protected and stays well,” the Des Moines Register reported.

Like in most states, testing in Iowa has been limited, meaning the high percentage of infected health care workers may be due in part to efforts to test front-line workers first.

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Twenty-six people in Iowa have died from the virus, with 16 deaths occurring Monday, according to Gov. Kim Reynolds (D).

"I want to acknowledge that the last week has been especially hard. Unfortunately, we expect this week will be equally, if not more, difficult,” Reynolds said at her daily news conference Monday, echoing similarly grim projections from public health officials and President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Trump's remaking of the judicial system Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit MORE for the week ahead.

In the briefing, she announced additional closures of public spaces, including libraries, malls, playgrounds and campgrounds, saying Iowans had been gathering in those locations despite social-distancing recommendations.

"I'm not hesitant to add as we feel necessary," Reynolds said, according to the Register. "As we see people gathering — as we take a look at what some of the nonessential activities may be — then we'll add them to the list."

Health care workers have been at high risk of contracting the deadly disease. Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerUS national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration Voters say Biden should make coronavirus vaccine a priority: poll New York City subway service could be slashed 40 percent, officials warn MORE (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday proposed up to $25,000 in hazard pay for medical professionals and other essential workers.