Your Thursday Afternoon Regional Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update


IDPH: 34 More Cases COVID-19 in Iowa 

(Des Moines, IA) -- The Iowa Department of Public Health is confirming 34-more positive cases of coronavirus in the state. The cases include an older adult and three others in Scott County between the ages of 41 and 60, and one adult in Des Moines County between the ages of 18 and 40. Scott County now has seven confirmed cases and this is Des Moines County's first case. 

Sentencing For Jerry Burns Pushed Back Due To Coronavirus 

(Cedar Rapids, IA) -- The sentencing for a Cedar Rapids man convicted of murdering a woman nearly 40-years-ago is getting pushed back. A judge was scheduled to sentence Jerry Burns next month, but the coronavirus outbreak is delaying nearly all hearings and criminal court proceedings. Burns was convicted for the murder of Michelle Martinko [[mar-tin-co]] at the Westdale Mall in Cedar Rapids in December 1979. She was 18-years-old. 

Cedar Rapids Police Department Offers Online Crime Report 

(Cedar Rapids, IA) -- The Cedar Rapids Police Department is asking residents to report some crimes online. The department has a form available on their website that submits a crime report to the department so they can investigate the claim. Reports submitted are not in-progress though the department website says a police department employee will be in contact as soon as possible. The department says all non-emergency calls can be placed at 319-286-5491.

Traffic numbers down in Iowa by 50 percent

DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) -The Iowa State Patrol said overall, traffic is down by 50 percent across the state. The patrol says the number of trucks is still about the same as food and supply deliveries continue during the COVID-19 pandemic. One state patrol sergeant says decreased traffic means Iowans are listening to the warning to stay home and stay healthy. The Iowa State Patrol says it has observed an increase in drunk driving and speeding. It is reminding drivers that troopers are still on patrol.

County Board Reviews COVID-19 Response After Death Of Dubuque Resident

(Dubuque, IA) -- Dubuque County leaders are discussing their plans to limit the spread of coronavirus after a Dubuque resident became the first Iowan to die from the virus. The Dubuque County Board of Supervisors this week discussed the importance of social distancing. Supervisor Dave Baker says people should take this issue seriously to help protect innocent people who play by the rules. KWWL reports county leaders are considering more assertive measures to limit large gatherings. Supervisors say while the death is concerning, the community should remain calm. 

Monticello Native Performs Free Online Concerts To Help People Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

(Cedar Rapids, IA) -- An Eastern Iowa native and musician is performing Facebook Live concerts to help people at home because of the coronavirus pandemic. Monticello [[Monte-sello]] native Jim McDonough [[mick-done-ah]] is an orchestral pianist. McDonough has been performing his online concerts during special mid-day sessions. McDonough says last week he played nearly 60-requested songs from people in the comment section. His videos are receiving upwards of 10-thousand views each.

Scott County Judge Releases Inmates from Jail to Protect People from COVID-19

(Scott Co., IA) -- The Scott County Jail is releasing dozens of inmates in an effort to protect people from the spread of coronavirus. The Quad City Times reports Deputy Chief Bryce Schmidt says 50-inmates have been released from the jail since March 16th. The jail's administrator said inmate reduction was an issue months before the coronavirus outbreak, but the jail has stepped up its effort because of concerns over the virus. A district judge says inmates must meet certain criteria for release including having underlying medical issues placing them in a higher-risk category and meeting a certain age requirement. The judge also looks at the severity of the crime and how much of their sentence has been served. 

Iowa Workforce Development Reports Over 41-Thousand Jobless Claims

(Undated) -- Iowa Workforce Development is reporting over 41-thousand jobless claims between March 15th and 21st. Officials today said that's up from 2,229 unemployment insurance claims the week before. The agency says more than ten-point-six-million-dollars in unemployment insurance benefits were paid to Iowans last week. The industries with the most claims are accommodation and food services, healthcare and social assistance, and education. 

Genesis East Adds Triage Tent to Screen Patients for COVID-19 Symptoms 

(Davenport, IA) -- Genesis Medical Center-East is temporarily adding a triage tent to screen patients experiencing coronavirus symptoms. The hospital says the 40-by-40-foot tent is next to the emergency department and is now available to screen patients showing symptoms of COVID-19 or other viruses, including cough, fever, and shortness of breath. Medical Director of the Emergency Department David Dierks [[durks]] says the tent is an extension of the emergency department but will be specifically for patients with mild to moderate virus symptoms. Patients will also be separated by recommended spacing in the tent. 

Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at ISU helping speed up COVID-19 testing

AMES, Iowa (KCRG) -The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Iowa State University is helping to speed up the testing of COVID-19 samples, due to the rapid spread of the virus. This is to help the State Hygenic Laboratory that is located at the University of Iowa. Between the two labs, this will help them be able to test simultaneously. The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) has shared its methods for testing to help with the analysis.

In a statement released Thursday, officials with the lab the VDL is known for its state of the art testing for infectious agents in livestock, poultry, and pets. They normally test 90,000 cases per year. “This means the hygienic lab is in a much better position to ramp up testing as needed,” Dr. Karen Harmon, clinical associate professor in the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, said. “To have the opportunity to help a human testing lab in this way has been very rewarding for us.”

VDL Executive Director Pat Halbur stated that the lab has helped diagnose different diseases in veterinary medicine and want to use those skills for human medicine.

Wisconsin COVID-19 Cases Jump By 100 In A Day

(Madison, WI) -- There are 100 new coronavirus cases confirmed in Wisconsin today. The Department of Health Services says 707 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state. Eight people have died from the virus. Milwaukee County has the most with 347 confirmed cases and five deaths. Dane County has 114 cases and one death followed by Waukesha County with 56 cases and Washington County with 25.