Your Thursday Afternoon Regional Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update


IDPH: Confirms 52-More COVID-19 Cases Totaling 549 Cases 

(Des Moines, IA) -- The Iowa Department of Public Health is confirming 52-more positive cases of COVID-19 in the state. The new numbers bring the state total to 549-positive cases. The department is also confirming two more coronavirus-related deaths that bring the state total to nine deaths.

Cedar Rapids Care Facility Responds to COVID-19 Outbreak 

(Cedar Rapids, IA) -- A Cedar Rapids care facility is responding after the Governor's office confirmed at least 21-cases of COVID-19 originated there. Management at Heritage Specialty Care Tuesday said residents that tested positive are isolated from the other residents and the care facility is following guidelines from the Linn County Health Department, Iowa Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control. The facility says its banned visitors since March 11th to limit the spread of the virus. Linn County currently has the most confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state. 

Coralville Drive-Through Clinic Needs Medical Order to See Patients

(Coralville, IA) -- A Coralville drive-through clinic is not drive-by. Margaret Reese with Mercy Iowa City says a drive-through clinic at a Coralville facility is minimizing provider and colleague exposure and conserving protective equipment for medical workers. Reese said Tuesday the drive-through clinic administered 23-tests and patients will get their results today. Reese also stressed the clinic is only for people who've been screened and approved by a healthcare provider for COVID-19 symptoms, and they must have an order from that provider to be seen. 

Dubuque Archdiocese Cancels All Holy Week Masses

(Dubuque, IA) -- The Archdiocese of Dubuque is canceling all Holy Week masses, including Easter Sunday. Archbishop Michael Jackels said Tuesday people are being careful not to spread coronavirus and the break from mass doesn't show a lack of appreciation for the services. The Archdiocese is live streaming mass each Sunday and will also stream Holy Thursday and Good Friday services. The rosary will also be streamed each week on Thursdays. Carroll County Confirms First COVID-19 Death 

(Carroll Co., IL) -- Carroll County is confirming its first coronavirus-related death. The Carroll County Health Department says the death wasn't counted in state reporting numbers on Monday or Tuesday. The department says the individual was an adult in their 80's. There have been three-positive cases of COVID-19 in the county to date.

Quad City Officials Clarify Who Should Wear Masks Right Now 

(Quad Cities, IA) -- The CDC is reviewing its guidelines on who should wear medical face masks. Scott County Health Department Director Ed Rivers yesterday said masks should only be worn if symptoms are present since it's coughing and sneezing that transmits COVID-19. Rivers says a person who isn't showing symptoms wouldn't benefit from wearing a mask to protect others, but he says infected individuals should wear a mask or a scarf to prevent spread. Quad Cities officials yesterday also said they expect cases to peak in mid-April.

Iowa Board of Nursing Issuing Emergency Licenses to Student Nurses 

(Undated) -- The Iowa Board of Nursing is issuing emergency licenses to nurses who have completed their education requirements. Governor Kim Reynolds proclamation yesterday is allowing nursing students who were unable to complete their hospital training to meet the requirement through simulations. The board says hundreds of pre-license nurses were ready to enter the workforce after graduation this spring.

Rock Island Small Businesses Get Some Relief from City Leaders

(Rock Island, IL) -- Small businesses in Rock Island are getting some financial relief from the coronavirus pandemic. The City of Rock Island and the Development Association of Rock Island are partnering to help businesses affected by COVID-19 with an emergency grant fund that offers business owners up to 25-hundred dollars. The application for the emergency fund is now open on the development association's website. Rock Island Mayor Mike Thom [[tom]] says over 70-small businesses have already applied, but some small business owners are criticizing the grant saying the amount isn't enough to cover their losses. 

The National Guard Will Help Man Polling Places Tuesday

(Madison, WI) -- Governor Tony Evers is sending out the National Guard to help with the primary elections. The state faces a shortage of several thousand poll monitors for next week's primary elections. The governor has authorized the head of the Wisconsin guard to use troops to support the state's response to the public emergency caused by COVID-19. At least three federal lawsuits have been filed looking to change the date of Tuesday's spring election and presidential primary.

More Than A Million Absentee Ballots Requested In WI

(Madison, WI) -- The Wisconsin Elections Commission says more than one-million absentee ballot applications have been requested for Tuesday's elections and presidential primary. The commission today says nearly 390-thousand completed ballots have been returned. But there are still many requests that municipal clerks have not yet entered into the state system. Information about voting absentee and polling places is posted on My Vote Wisconsin.

Coronavirus Isolation Centers Springing Up

(Green Bay, WI) -- Local health departments and first responders in Northeast Wisconsin are setting up voluntary isolation centers to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Officials say the move is to ease the strain on hospitals and make sure there are enough beds for people who need them when the pandemic peaks. New isolation centers opened today in Madison and Milwaukee with a center in Green Bay already housing some people. Oshkosh officials are also looking to see if they might create an isolation center.

Bridge Street Mission Continues Feeding Needy

(Wausau, WI) --  Free meals at noon every weekday are still being served at the Bridge Street Mission. Officials say there is great need and many people are facing hardships so they have no plan to stop ministering to Wausau community. Instead of serving a meal inside, the mission is providing sack lunches and maintaining social distancing guidelines.

Grandma's Marathon Canceled Due To COVID-19

(Duluth, MN) -- The popular Grandma's Marathon in Duluth is calling off its races in June because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers ruled out the idea of postponing the event because of the huge challenge of planning and preparing for the weekend races. Grandma's Marathon generated more than 20 million dollars in 2019. This is the first time in 44 years that the event will not take place.

Twin Cities Boys And Girls Clubs Launch Expanded Meal Plan Program

(Minneapolis, MN) -- The Boys and Girls Clubs of Twin Cities will start offering free weekly meal packages to kids and their families due to the coronavirus pandemic. Several kids rely on school lunches for daily meals and are now faced with lack of food after Governor Walz executive order to close all schools in the state. Officials with the Boys and Girls Clubs say they are providing families with nutritious family-style meals, on-the-go educational materials and access to additional community resources. The resources are intended to help caregivers as well as children.

Gas Prices Below A Buck A Gallon At Some Minnesota Gas Stations

(Undated) -- Minnesotans are seeing the lowest gas prices in nearly 20 years. The demand for oil has dropped dramatically after the stay at home order was recently implemented to confront the coronavirus pandemic. A gallon of gas this morning is going for less than one dollar at a few Minnesota gas stations. Prices at some stations in the metro had dropped to one-dollar-and-six cents. Meanwhile, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has dispelled rumors that drivers can contract COVID-19 by touching gas pump handles. They say the risk of contracting the virus by handling a gas pump handle is low.

>>Local Meat And Berry Farm Cancels Spring Opening Due To COVID-19

(Menomonie, WI) -- A local berry farm isn't opening this year due to social distancing and limits on gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Govin's [[GO-vin]] Meats and Berries in Menomonie [[meh-nom-oh-knee]] says their farm is usually busy in the spring because the farm is open to the public every year the last two weekends in March and the first two weekends in April. This year, John Govin says the farm is quiet and he's missing out on nearly 25-percent of his yearly income because coronavirus is keeping people from visiting his baby goats and lambs. Govin says the strawberry patch is his next hope for income, but the family is still working out how to do that safely. 

Wisconsinites Petition Gov. Evers Stay At Home Order To Open Golf Courses 

(Eau Claire, WI) -- Thousands of Wisconsinites are calling on Governor Evers [[EE-vers]] to allow golf courses to open. Some local golf courses planned to open this week, though golf courses were deemed non-essential after the governor issued a stay at home order last week. Pine Meadow Groundskeeper Kelsey Erickson says it's the perfect time to open the course and when it comes to social distancing and extra cleaning measures to keep golfers safe, he says there's many things that can be done to make the course safe for everyone. 

Boys And Girls Club Delivering Meals To Kids In Need 

(La Crosse, WI) -- The Boys and Girls Club of Greater La Crosse is closed, but the supper club is still bringing meals to kids in need. Executive Director Jake Erickson says staff is making dozens of stops around the community to bring families hot meals provided by the Waterfront Restaurant, Weber group, and La Crosse Emergency Response Fund. Erickson estimates around two-thousand deliveries this week, which is up hundreds of meals from last week. Erickson says the club will deliver meals as long as schools remain closed and they have enough volunteers. Anyone can contact the Boys and Girls Club to volunteer. 

Wisconsin Restaurant Association Website Shows Open, Closed Restaurants 

(Eau Claire, WI) -- The Wisconsin Restaurant Association is releasing an online database of open and closed restaurants around the state. The association created an online resource of over one-thousand restaurants to help people find places to eat and support local business amid the coronavirus pandemic. The website shows businesses currently offering delivery, takeout, or curbside services to customers. The database can be found at w-i-restaurant-dot-org. 

Champaign Urgent Care Offering Drive-Up COVID-19 Testing

(Champaign, IL) -- A Champaign Urgent Care is offering drive-up COVID-19 testing. CampusTown Urgent Care will be testing anyone who wants a test for coronavirus starting today in the First Christian Church parking lot. The clinic will have about eight-thousand test kits. The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District says it doesn't recommend the clinic because it is testing people regardless of symptoms.

Ferrell Hospital Offering Screening For COVID-19 Symptoms

(Eldorado, IL) -- Ferrell Hospital is offering a video-telehealth screening for people who believe they need care for COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone experiencing symptoms can speak to a nurse by phone and later get a video-telehealth visit. Symptoms will be evaluated and people will be referred for COVID-19 testing as appropriate.

SIU Workers Respond After Two Students Test Positive For COVID-19

(Carbondale, IL) -- Southern Illinois University food service and university hall workers are concerned for their safety after two students tested positive for COVID-19. University officials required 21 others to be quarantined as a precautionary measure. The school is serving students grab-and-go meals that students pick up, causing culinary workers to have fears of picking up the virus. Union-represented culinary employees are requesting that the university close its residence halls and send students home.