Over the weekend, the number of COVID-19 cases in Story County saw a spike as local and state health officials reported 13 new cases.

As cases rise, local health officials fear they could climb even further with the lack of social distancing in the wave of protests sweeping Iowa and the county. On Saturday, Ames saw a crowd of nearly 300 gather outside of City Hall for a peaceful protest.

“Any large gatherings — whether for a peaceful protest or another reason — (are a) cause for concern,” said Les White, director of Story County Public Health. “We would always advise that people should practice physical distancing, wear masks and use hand sanitizer to be safe.”

As of Monday afternoon, 116 positive cases of COVID-19 have been reported by the Iowa Department of Public Health, according to its coronavirus.iowa.gov website.

Steve Sullivan, a spokesperson for Mary Greeley Medical Center, confirmed the new cases, but said she did not immediately know where the tests were conducted or the patients’ current status.

In Ames on Monday, playgrounds, the Georgie Tsushima Memorial Skate Park, and area dog parks reopened to the public, said Keith Abraham, parks and recreation director.

Last week, Reynolds issued a new proclamation for Monday, June 1, reopening additional establishments at 50 percent capacity across the state: outdoor performance venues, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement parks, and skating rinks.

In addition, beginning June 1, spectators will be able to watch auto and horse races as long as the facility is at no more than 50% of capacity and the crowd complies with social distancing guidelines.

Since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Story County on March 3, a total of 2,584 county residents have been tested for the virus, and only 4.5% have tested positive, according to the state health department. Of the nearly 120 cases in the county, 79 individuals have fully recovered, though one case has resulted in death.

The state health department announced 204 new cases of the novel coronavirus throughout the state as well as five additional deaths on Monday. Since the pandemic began, 19,690 Iowans have tested positive for the virus which has led to the deaths of 548 people.