Iowa COVID cases rise 23%, some venues increase safety measures

By: - September 10, 2021 4:03 pm

No one will be required to wear a mask at Jack Trice Stadium Saturday, but some indoor entertainment venues in central Iowa are setting new rules for attendees. This image is from May 2021. (Photo courtesy of Iowa State University)

Despite a 23% jump in Iowa COVID-19 cases the past two weeks, no one attending the Iowa State Cyclones’ home game Saturday against the Iowa Hawkeyes will be required to wear a mask. 

Iowa State recommends those sitting in indoor seating areas at Jack Trice Stadium wear a face covering.

However, indoor entertainment venues have started to tighten restrictions. On Thursday, Des Moines Performing Arts, which includes the Des Moines Civic Center, announced that beginning Sept. 25, anyone attending a DMPA indoor event must prove they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or show a negative test result. Everyone will have to wear a mask except when they are drinking.

Symphony headlines return of full roster of shows

The Des Moines Symphony concerts on Sept. 25-26 will be the first major events at the Civic Center since it closed due to the pandemic on March 16, 2020, Jonathan Brendemuehl, Des Moines Performing Arts communications director, said in an interview. 

The rules were established by DMPA and its task force of public health and public safety officials, he added.

“We were taking into consideration the current status of the virus,” Brendemuehl said of the coronavirus. “We will continue to reassess, but these will be our policies for the foreseeable future.”

The Civic Center is preparing to stage a mixture of events postponed during the pandemic and those planned for the current schedule.

The rules at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines vary by the event. Noce jazz club in Des Moines requires proof of either vaccination or a negative COVID test within 48 hours of the show. Stephens Auditorium in Ames encourages mask-wearing.

Cases, hospitalizations rise

The New York Times on Friday reported Iowa’s cases rose 23% in 14 days. Hospitalizations were up 10%.

The Washington Post reported Iowa’s cases rose 5% in the past week. On a per capita basis, the state ranked 27th in the nation. Hospitalizations were up 3.8%.

Iowa’s test positivity rate was 12.1% in the past week, the Post reported. Tests were up 1.9%.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported that as of Thursday, Iowa had recorded 454,989 COVID cases and 6,337 related deaths since the pandemic started. That included 30 deaths in the past week.

The state reported 554 COVID patients in Iowa hospitals, 153 in intensive care. Of those in the hospital, 79% were unvaccinated. Just short of 90% (89.5%) of the COVID patients in intensive care had not been vaccinated. 

There are 20 outbreaks at nursing homes.

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Perry Beeman
Perry Beeman

Perry Beeman has nearly 40 years of experience in Iowa journalism and has won national awards for environmental and business writing. He has written for The Des Moines Register and the Business Record, where he also served as managing editor. He also is former editorial director of Grinnell College. He co-authored the recently published book, "The $80 Billion Gamble," which details the lottery-rigging case of Eddie Tipton.