The task force recommended in a report that Iowa close bars in 61 counties and test all returning college students for the virus, and that the state limit gatherings to 10 people in 28 counties.
The recommended actions are far more strict than those of Gov. Kim Reynolds, who last week ordered bars in six counties to shut down.
“Rural and urban counties in Iowa continue to have increases in case and test positivity. Common sense preventive measures must be implemented to stop further spread,” a task force report released Sunday said, according to the Des Moines Register.
Over the past two weeks, 11% of coronavirus tests came back positive, according to state figures.
On Aug. 23, Iowa had the ninth-highest case rate in the country, according to a White House report. Since then, it has spiked to number one.
“Bars must be closed, and indoor dining must be restricted to 50% of normal capacity in yellow zone and 25% of normal capacity in red zone counties and metro areas,” the White House report reads.
In the Aug. 23 report, the White House urged Iowa to require mask-wearing statewide. Reynolds has brushed off such suggestions, calling a mask mandate unenforceable and saying she trusts Iowans to do the right thing.
The latest report also recommends the state offer standardized public data for coronavirus cases at universities.
The report urges Iowa to focus on preventing the spread in nursing homes, whose residents have accounted for over half of the state’s 1,116 deaths. Federal officials are sending rapid testing equipment to nursing homes in the state.