Cedar Rapids closes Gardner Golf Course and disc golf courses, as Linn County cases of COVID-19 reach 300

Photo by Jopwell/Pexels

Linn County saw its first confirmed cases of COVID-19 on March 21, about two weeks after the first cases were confirmed in Iowa on March 8.

Close to a month after the county’s first confirmed cases, Linn County has become a hotspot in Iowa and has more confirmed cases than any other county in the state.

As of 1 p.m. on Thursday, there were 301 confirmed cases of the virus, Linn County Public Health’s Heather Meador said during a LCPH press conference. (The Iowa Department of Public Health was only reporting 280 cases among Linn County residents on Thursday, but the department’s reporting has one-day time-lag.)

“Our goal now is to become a hotspot of recovery, and hopefully through our efforts, we can demonstrate to the rest of the state how to best handle these tough times should the number of confirmed cases continue to rise in other areas, in other counties,” Supervisor Stacey Walker said.

A total of 151 Linn County residents have recovered from the virus.

COVID-19 Press Conference, April 16th, 2020 3:30PM

Now streamed live on Facebook, YouTube…/UCV9JaHlZ0phu… and local news sites.

Posted by Linn County Public Health on Thursday, April 16, 2020

The City of Cedar Rapids announced on Thursday it is closing Gardner Golf Course and disc golf courses until April 30 in light of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ proclamation requiring additional protective measures in 14 northeastern counties — including Linn County.

Parks, trails and dog parks remain open, but to help facilitate social distancing, the city is recommending one-way travel on certain trail loops.

Directional signage will be posted at the trail heads of Prairie Park Fishery and Cherry Hill Park loop to illustrate the flow of one-way traffic. These are recommendations intended to help reduce contact between people using the trails.

At the LCPH press conference, Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman shared that the police department is currently developing its enforcement response for the proclamation. He said it is going to continue to be “warn, notify and ask for voluntary compliance” but that the department is “prepared to issue citations or charge individuals who refuse to comply.”

At a press conference in early April, Jerman said incidents of noncompliance with Reynolds’ orders are handled on a case-by-case basis.

“It is a misdemeanor offense, which can be charged, but again, that is our last resort of taking enforcement action,” Jerman said on April 2. “We want to educate and ask for voluntary compliance.”

On April 16, Jerman mentioned that officers have issued a “handful of warnings to some gatherings” and have had only one instance where citations had to be issued.

Earlier this month, CRPD received calls that there were 20 people involved in a fight at Bever Park. The fight resulted in a shooting. Four individuals associated with the incident were charged on Wednesday with “a Department of Public Health Violation … for willingly going to a gathering of more than 10 people.”

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