Breaking News
More () »

Sen. Ernst on COVID-19 response: 'I would not want to see another shutdown'

Local 5 Chief Political Correspondent Rachel Droze spoke one-on-one with the Iowa senator about the coronavirus pandemic.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Sen. Joni Ernst said Friday she is not in favor of another shutdown because of the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases. 

Friday, Iowa reported it's highest daily case count since May, with 711 new cases reported between 9 a.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. Friday.*

When asked by Local 5 Chief Political Correspondent Rachel Droze, Ernst said she's not in favor of further shutdowns.

"I would not want to see another shutdown," Ernst said. "I wouldn't want to see that. I think one thing that we do need to recognize is that the coronavirus is here, and at some point, we have to learn how to live with coronavirus at least until we have a vaccination and even maybe beyond that as we continue to discover new things about this virus." 

When asked is she would be supportive of a bill including a federal mask mandate, Ernst responded she's not in favor of a broad, federal mandate. 

"I wouldn't say necessarily a mask mandate," Ernst said. "And that's where it comes down to more of the local authority authorities determining is there a risk with COVID-19? Do we need to implement special measures out there? I always think it's better to defer to those in local government to determine what is best for those citizens. But hopefully we don't come to that point. I am very hopeful that we can continue advancing on towards a vaccination and better therapeutics for all of our great citizens. And if not, I would just prefer the people in those hot spots are wearing a mask. But if they're not (wearing masks) in those hot spots, they're able to at least socially distance and move about their business."

*IDPH continuously updates data published to the state's coronavirus website. Local 5 publishes snapshots of data twice a day.

Download the We Are Iowa app or subscribe to the "5 Things to Know" email newsletter. (edited)

RELATED: Sen. Ernst talks systemic racism during Des Moines visit

RELATED: VERIFY: Ames City Council will not be discussing a face mask mandate

Before You Leave, Check This Out