New reports from the White House this week say Iowa remains one of the nation's "red zone states," meaning it is still considered a hot spot in the country's fight against coronavirus.

According to the Gazette, the report (which was first published by the New York Times on Tuesday) showed 61 Iowa counties either in the 'red' or 'yellow' zones, indicating a marked increase of virus activity in Iowa. By comparison, that number is up from 47 counties labeled 'hot' in the report just two weeks ago.

This week on a conference call with the governors, Dr. Deborah Berks from the White House said Iowa is listed as one of 13 states that their task force is working with to slow the spread of the virus.

On the call, Dr. Birx warned the governor “if we wait until increased hospitalizations, it is really way too late.“ The doctor added that this community spread is being detected in both rural and urban areas of the state and that it is affecting more Iowans in the younger age groups.

The report said that Iowa’s coronavirus cases have surged back to stages first seen at peek positive test levels from early May. It classified a total of eight Iowa counties as red zones and listed Dubuque, Marshalltown, and Ottumwa as red zone cities.

The White House recommends that bars and gyms in red zones should be closed, and red zone restaurants should be practicing strict social distancing. It also recommends that face masks be required in all red zone businesses.

As of Wednesday, KCRG reported that COIVD-19  cases in Iowa have surpassed 43,000, with over 844 Iowan deaths.

Last week the Iowa Dept of Public Health launched a new Mask Up campaign to encourage Iowans to wear masks in public.

Sources: The Gazette, KCRG, Iowa Dept of Public Health