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Legislative leaders plan on business as usual at Capitol

March 12, 2020 GMT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Republican legislative leaders said Thursday they are not planning to curtail the legislative session as concerns over the spread of the coronavirus intensify.

Iowa has 16 people who have tested positive but public health officials consider the immediate public risk to be low.

For most people, the COVID-19 causes only mild or moderate symptoms but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness. The vast majority of people recover.

Some Democrats have called for a quick end to the session, installation of hand-disinfectant stations and a daily thorough wipe-down of railings. Democratic Sen. Bill Dotzler, of Waterloo, said a lack of such action “just shows a stunning ignorance about the coronavirus and how its spread.”

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Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver said Thursday plans are for the session, scheduled to run until April 21, to meet as usual. The Capitol remains open to the public.

House Speaker Pat Grassley said no changes are planned unless the Iowa Department of Public Health advises they’re needed.

“If there needs to be a response from the Legislature we’re preparing ourselves to do that but at this point in time that’s not been the request of us,” he said.