State Update: Coronavirus Surges Across Midwest Strain Staffing, Intensive Care Capacity; How Mask Mandates Became a Defining Political Issue in Iowa; Second COVID Shutdown may Doom Restaurants

November 5, 2020

  • Some states across the Midwest are grappling with strained staffing and nearing intensive care capacity. Across Minnesota State Director of Infectious Disease Kris Ehresmann said 92% of beds in intensive care units (ICUs) were full. Meanwhile in Iowa, “the level that we’ve seen in the last four day[s] if it continues to rise is an unsustainable level," said Dr. Tony Myers of Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids. "There is a point where you don’t have enough critical care staffing capacity to take care of an ever increasing number.” 
  • People in Dubuque County, Iowa, say they never wanted, or even expected, to wrestle with the proposed mask mandate that's dividing their county, which is now reeling from one of the nation's worst COVID-19 outbreaks. A debate that once gripped the White House has ended up here, nestled beside corners of Illinois and Wisconsin — and it has animated the politics of a state that was thought to be in the bag for President Donald Trump but soon became a seesaw battle.
  • Chicago is facing a new round of restrictions on eateries in the state as Illinois battles an alarming surge in COVID-19. The restaurant shutdowns this spring were seen by most experts as a necessary, if financially painful, way to help flatten the COVID-19 curve. But the latest jump in cases, which comes as temperatures in much of the country drop and make outdoor dining less palatable, could mean a last call for many restaurants.  

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