Your Tuesday Afternoon Iowa Regional COVID-19 Update

IDPH: 73 More Cases of COVID-19 in Iowa, Nearly 500 Total Cases

(Des Moines, IA) -- The Iowa Department of Public Health is confirming 73-more cases of COVID-19 in the state. The new numbers bring the total today to nearly 500-cases of COVID-19 in Iowa. There have been nearly seven-thousand negative tests to date and seven deaths. One more death was reported today in Muscatine County. The individual was between 41-and-60-years-old.

State Reps Urge Gov. Reynolds to Issue 'Shelter in Place' Order

(Des Moines, IA) -- State representatives are urging Governor Kim Reynolds to issue a 'Shelter in Place' order for the state. U.S. Representatives Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer sent the governor separate letters this week telling her that without an order, Iowans risk spreading the virus further in the state. Governor Reynolds says she'll consider a 'Shelter in Place' order if the federal government issues new guidelines this week. Iowa has 424-confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Iowa DNR: Fishing Season Starts Today

(Des Moines, IA) -- It's opening day for fishing season. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says it's okay to fish as long as people maintain six-feet of social distance and don't travel too far from home. Iowa doesn't currently have any 'Safer-at-Home' guidelines though state officials are advising against travel for non-essential reasons.

Adventureland Park Pushes Back Opening Date 

(Altoona, IA) -- Adventureland is pushing back its opening date in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Adventureland is now scheduled to open May 16th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Adventure Bay will remain closed until the following week, May 23rd. Park officials say new dates and times for season passes and pre-season processing are also being scheduled. Ticket inquiries for the original opening can be made with an email to ross-at-adventure-land-park-dot-com. 

Dubuque County Jail Closed to Visitors Next Week 

(Dubuque, IA) -- The visitation lobby at the Dubuque County Jail is closing next week to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. The Dubuque County Sheriff's Office says the lobby will close April 6th and remain closed until further notice. Visits this week will remain as scheduled and following April 6th, visits can be conducted via Skype. 

Former Cedar Rapids Mayor Donates Final Campaign Funds to Make PPE

(Cedar Rapids, IA) -- Former Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett is closing his campaign fund and donating the remaining dollars to help a local start-up create personal protective gear for healthcare workers. The Gazette reports Corbett said Monday he's ending his political career and doesn't plan on running again. His campaign was left with nearly 300-thousand dollars after he raised nearly a-million-dollars to get his name on the ballot in the 2018 Republican primary. He's since been donating the funds to area non-profits. Corbett says he's donating his final 25-thousand dollars to Cedar Rapids tech start-up NewBoCo who plans to use 3-D printers to make medical masks for healthcare workers. 

Gov. Requests Federal Disaster Declaration

(Madison, WI) -- Governor Tony Evers is requesting a presidential disaster declaration. The governor sent a letter today asking President Trump for a disaster declaration for all 72 counties and Wisconsin tribes. The disaster declaration would allow the state access to critical programs now and during the recovery from the pandemic. The state has over 13-hundred-and-50 confirmed coronavirus cases and 16 deaths.

Poll Workers In Short Supply

(Madison, WI) -- Over half of Wisconsin municipalities are in great need of poll workers. The Wisconsin Election Commission said today nearly 60-percent of Wisconsin towns are short because of the fear of working during the coronavirus outbreak. Officials estimate the state needs about seven-thousand more workers before next Tuesday's primary elections. There is an outreach effort by the Election Commission to colleges, universities and state employees to find more volunteers.

City Officials Encouraging Early Voting 

(Eau Claire, WI) -- City officials are still encouraging early voting before the Wisconsin Spring Primary Election and Presidential Primary next week. City Clerk Carrie Riepl says thousands of absentee ballots have already been processed and now the city is planning for social distancing efforts and putting out hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes. City officials are also planning for drive through voting in downtown Eau Claire. The drive through is now open in the City Hall parking lot until Friday April 3rd from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Wisconsin Primary Election is next Tuesday, April 7th. 

Doctor Says New Tests, Social Distancing Will Stop the Spread of COVID-19

(Undated) -- Coronavirus is spreading rapidly across the country. President and CEO of Prevea Health Dr. Ashok Rai yesterday told W-B-A-Y that the nature of COVID-19 has been well proven and citizens must keep up with social distancing efforts to stop its spread. Dr. Rai said new tests are a good sign that the F-D-A is approving them for medical professionals to use. He says the good thing is that tests don't take a lot of equipment, but doctors first need the equipment, and it's not available for everyone. In Wisconsin, Dr. Rai says social distancing will help to continue to help flatten the curve, but the state needs more testing to prove that.

Western Tech Opens Food Pantry to Help Students Affected by COVID-19

(La Crosse, WI) -- Students at Western Technical College are packaging meals for fellow students affected by COVID-19. Vice President of Western Student Service and Engagement Amy Thornton says the students at the La Crosse campus wanted to do a pop-up food pantry so other students could come by and pick-up meals a few times this week. The pantry opened yesterday and will open again for students tomorrow and Saturday. Thornton says each student will also receive a gift card to Festival Foods and Kwik [[quick]] Trip coupons. United Health Group Pledges $50 Million In COVID-19 Support

(Minnetonka, MN) -- UnitedHealth Group officials say they will provide 50-million dollars to support groups most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Minnetonka-based health care company said it would work with national and local partners to invest close to 30 million dollars to protect and support health care workers. UnitedHealth also pledged ten million dollars to support states with large numbers of coronavirus patients including New York, New Jersey, Washington, California and Florida. The firm is also donating five-million-dollars to address social isolation among seniors and another five million to help people experiencing lack of food or homelessness.

#StayHomeMN Campaign Off And Running

(St. Paul, MN) -- A stay at home Minnesota marketing campaign is underway. Several communications staffers in Governor Walz's office are spearheading the effort with donated airtime, billboards and other media services. #StayHomeMN has been broadcast in public-service announcements that instruct Minnesotans to hunker down to help slow down the spread of COVID-19. Meanwhile, there are plans for the governor to take part in a video condemning hostility toward Asian-Americans.

Minneapolis Police Officers To Take Non-Emergency Calls At New Call Center

(Minneapolis, MN) -- The Minneapolis Police Department is kicking off a new effort to help with call volume while protecting the department from contracting COVID-19. Police spokesman John Elder says the officers will handle non-emergency calls at a new call center today. If residents call 911 with a non-violent service call, like a bike or package theft, the call will be rerouted to the new call center. The facility will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Minnesota United Postpones Season Ticket-Holder Payments Until May

(St. Paul, MN) -- Minnesota United officials say they have suspended season-ticket holder payments that are due tomorrow until May due to the coronavirus pandemic. The team contacted season ticket holders by email yesterday informing them of the grace period. Fans who want to make their April 1st payment still can. MLS officials suspended its season into May after the CDC recommended two weeks ago that no gatherings of more than 50 people be held for the next eight weeks.

COVID-19 Cases Top 1,000 In Missouri

(Jefferson City, MO) -- There are more than 100 new cases of coronavirus in Missouri. The latest numbers from the Department of Health and Human Services show one-thousand-31 people have tested positive statewide. To date, 13 people have died, an increase of one in the last 24 hours. The latest death reported to the state was in Lafayette County.

Taney County Health Department Says Cox Health Clinic Worker In Branson Has COVID-19

(Branson, MO) -- The Taney County Health Department is working to find out everyone who has come in contact with a Cox Health clinic worker in Branson who has tested positive for coronavirus. They add all patients who would have been exposed to the virus at the clinic have been or will be notified. The employee lives in neighboring Christian County, and the two county health departments are working together to make everyone aware. 

Springfield City Council Planning To Resume Meetings Next Week

(Springfield, MO) -- Despite the number of coronavirus cases continuing to increase in Missouri, the Springfield City Council is planning to resume its regular meetings next Monday. However, officials say they will be done using the video conference call app Zoom. Overall in Greene County, there have been 48 cases with seven people fully recovering and four deaths.

University Of Missouri Offering Alternative Grading For Spring Semester

(Columbia, MO) -- A choice on grading is being offered to University of Missouri students for the current spring semester classes. In an email, Provost Latha Ramchand says students can choose between the traditional A-F grades or satisfactory-unsatisfactory. For those who chose the latter, they will receive credit for the class if they receive a satisfactory grade, but it won't be part of their grade point average. The deadline for a partial refund if students withdraw from a class has been extended from March 16th to April 10th.

200 Kansas City Businesses Cited For Not Adhering To Stay-At-Home Order

(Kansas City, MO) -- Two-hundred Kansas City businesses are being cited for not following a stay-at-home order. Mayor Quinton Lucas said the city health department has begun the process of closing non-essential establishments that violated the order. Lucas further urged residents to follow the order and said the only way to combat the coronavirus outbreak is to maintain social distancing.

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