FILE - Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds

(The Center Square) – Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds late Sunday recommended schools across the state close for four weeks over concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"Based on new information today from the Iowa Department of Public Health, now is the time to move to the next level of response," Reynolds said. "I am now recommending that all Iowa schools close for a period of four weeks to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The recommendation falls short of an executive order, though many schools were making the decision themselves to close.

Raynolds recommendation came as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state rose to 22. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, which originated in China in December.

Symptoms are mild for most people who contract the respiratory virus, but they can be more severe in the elderly and people with underlying health conditions.