Afternoon Regional Coronavirus News Update

IDPH: 21 More Iowans Confirm Positive COVID-19 Tests 

(Des Moines, IA)  -- The Iowa Department of Public Health is confirming 21-more positive cases of coronavirus in Iowa. The department provides a status report on monitoring efforts and testing online, and a public hotline has been established for questions about COVID-19 in Iowa available 24-7 by calling 2-1-1.  

Iowa City VA Health Care Employee Testing Positive For COVID-19

(Iowa City, IA) -- An Iowa City VA Health Care System employee is testing positive for COVID-19. Officials say the positive results came back this morning. The hospital says the employee is now in isolation at home and staff who had close contact with the employee are also isolated at home. The VA says they're screening staff and veterans for COVID-19 symptoms at the door. 

Cedar Rapids UnityPoint Clinic Turns Emergency Room Into Respiratory Clinic

(Cedar Rapids, IA) -- UnityPoint Clinic is transitioning its Westside Emergency Clinic into a Respiratory Illness Clinic today. The hospital says the clinic is dedicated to treating patients with respiratory illness or symptoms of coronavirus only. UnityPoint says patients should call their healthcare provider to be screened for coronavirus symptoms and the provider will recommend what to do next.

Cedar Rapids Closing Playgrounds, Parks To Limit Spread Of Coronavirus 

(Cedar Rapids, IA) -- The city of Cedar Rapids is closing playgrounds and outdoor exercise parks to limit the spread of coronavirus. The city today said dog parks and trails are still open. The city is advising that residents bring hand sanitizer to the parks because the water is turned off.  

Dubuque Furniture Manufacturer Temporarily Lays Off Employees 

(Dubuque, IA) -- Flexsteel Industries is closing for two weeks this Friday to limit the spread of coronavirus. The furniture manufacturer is also temporarily laying off some employees, but the company isn't sure when or how many employees it will affect. The company says the layoffs are part of an effort to protect its employees' health and safety. 

(Des Moines, IA) -- Des Moines area hospitals are restricting visitors to prevent the spread of COVID-19. UnityPoint Health, Broadlawns Medical Center, and MercyOne hospitals today announced a collective restriction prohibiting visitors of any kind inside the hospitals. The hospitals say the visitor must be a designated caregiver and the patient is dying or suffering from confusion or delirium, the patient is having surgery, in labor, or recently gave birth, or the patient is under age 18. Visitors must not show any signs of illness to be permitted inside. 

Drake University Finishes Semester with Remote Learning, Prorates Room and Board 

(Des Moines, IA) -- Drake University is using remote learning to finish the spring semester. University President Marty Martin informed students and faculty today that plans are in place to hold commencement ceremonies virtually and students will receive prorated refunds for room and board. Martin says for now students and families should stay home and the school will share plans for moving students out of residence halls in the near future. 

Iowa Family Stuck in Peru Due to Coronavirus 

(Des Moines, IA) -- An Iowa family is stuck in Peru due to travel bans in place to help protect Americans from coronavirus. Urbandale resident Mary Boyle [[boil]] says her family went on a dream vacation to Peru earlier this month and now their flight back to the United States is delayed for an unspecified period of time. Boyle says her family left for spring break on March 13th and enjoyed only one-day of their vacation before the country issued a mandatory national quarantine.

Community Health Care Offering Patients Curb-Side Service 

(Quad Cities, IA) -- Community Health Care is seeing patients in their cars. The provider today says anyone can be seen with curbside service at all locations around the Quad Cities. The hospital says curbside service helps ease some community members fears about going into the doctor's office amid the coronavirus pandemic. The hospital is still asking patients to call and schedule appointments.

Rock Island Arsenal Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19

(Rock Island, IL) -- A civilian working at the Rock Island Arsenal is testing positive for COVID-19. The person is a resident of Scott County, Iowa. The Iowa Department of Public Health says the person is being included in state-wide reporting numbers. The employee's last day of work was March 19th and all personnel who work with them are isolated at home. Rock Island Arsenal says they will continue working to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Construction Suspended on I-74 Bridge, Worker Tests Positive for COVID-19

(Quad Cities, IA)  -- Construction is suspended on the I-74 bridge project after a worker tested positive for COVID-19. The Iowa Department of Transportation says Lunda Construction will suspend project operations for the remainder of this week and continue next week. Project Manager Danielle Alvarez [[all-var-res]] says the D-O-T and project contractors are making adjustments to create a safer working environment and each contractor is implementing safety measures consistent with federal guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control.  

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