Your Friday Afternoon Regional COVID-19 Update


Johnson County Restricts Access to Courthouse

(Iowa City, IA) -- The Johnson County Board of Supervisors is limiting access to the county courthouse to reduce COVID-19 spread. Yesterday, the board approved a court order that details who is allowed to enter the Johnson County Courthouse. These include anyone who needs a domestic abuse protective order or is attending to elderly abuse proceedings. Sheriff's deputies will screen everyone at the front door and some may have their temperatures taken.

Iowa State Cuts Pay in Athletics Department Because of Coronavirus

(Ames, IA) -- Financial repercussions from the COVID-19 pandemic have forced Iowa State to cut salaries of its entire athletics department staff by ten percent. The cutbacks include bonuses for the coaches in the next year, which could have meant a million dollars in the case of football coach Matt Campbell or basketball coach Steve Prohm. Iowa State's shortfall includes five-million dollars it might have received from the NCAA or Big 12 tournaments, which have been cancelled.

Iowa Lottery Changing Policy for Starting Guaranteed Jackpot

(Clive, IA) -- Starting next Wednesday, the Powerball Lottery will no longer announce a starting guaranteed jackpot. Iowa Lottery officials say because of the coronavirus outbreak, ticket sales have dropped. They say they want to make sure Powerball ticket sales support the jackpot and other prizes in each game. Democratic Leaders Ask Governor Reynolds to Order Shelter-In-Place

(Des Moines, IA) -- Democratic leaders in Iowa's legislature are calling on Governor Kim Reynolds to issue a shelter-in-place order for the state. Governor J-B Pritzker has declared a stay-at-home order for the entire state of Illinois. Iowa Democratic legislators say such action would send a clearer message about the serious nature of the pandemic. Meanwhile, the number of Iowans testing positive for COVID-19 now stands at 699, an increase of 85 cases. More than 87-hundred have received negative test results.

Worker at John Deere in Moline Tests Positive for COVID-19, Production Suspended

(Moline, IL) -- A worker for John Deere Cylinder Works in Moline has tested positive for COVID-19, halting production at the plant. The suspension began yesterday, the day the company learned of the worker's diagnosis. John Deere officials say all employees who were in contact with the worker who was infected will be put on a 14-day quarantine. Operations are expected to start again next week. About 250 people work for John Deere in Moline.

More Than One-Million Dollars Coming to Quad Cities to Help with COVID-19 Fight

(Quad Cities, IA) -- The Quad Cities are due to receive one-point-one million dollars to help battle the coronavirus pandemic. Democratic Congresswoman Cheri Bustos says the money comes from the coronavirus bailout package Congress just passed. The money can be used for housing, public facilities and local economic development. She says the money can be used for anything connected to the community's response to COVID-19.

Girl Scouts Put Out the Word: They Still Have Cookies for Sale

(Quad Cities, IA) -- The COVID-19 outbreak put a halt to sales of a lot of popular items -- including Girl Scout cookies. Now, Girl Scout officials say they still have a supply of some 24-thousand boxes of cookies for sale in eastern Iowa and western Illinois. Digital sales have been extended through April 12th and they say anyone who knows a Girl Scout can probably buy some boxes from them right now.

Iowa Doctors' Group Ask Governor Reynolds to Order Shelter-In-Place

(Des Moines, IA) -- The Iowa Board of Medicine has called on Governor Kim Reynolds to issue a shelter-in-place order for the state. The group of medical professionals decided to issue its call in an emergency meeting this morning. It says an order is needed because Iowans are not doing enough to follow social distancing guidelines. Iowa Democratic legislators have made a similar plea to Reynolds. Meanwhile, the number of Iowans testing positive for COVID-19 now stands at 699, an increase of 85 cases. More than 87-hundred have received negative test results. 

DAM to DSM Run Postponed Until Labor Day

(Des Moines, IA) -- The event that usually helps kick off the running season in Des Moines will now end it. Organizers have decided to postpone the EMC DAM to DSM run from May 30th to Labor Day. In its Facebook post, organizers say registration for the run from the Saylorville Dam to downtown Des Moines is temporarily closed. 

Local Companies Supporting Iowans During COVID-19 Pandemic

(Des Moines, IA) -- Local companies are being creative in helping support communities during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Des Moines Marriott Downtown is lighting up its rooms to create a heart eight stories tall that shines over the city. The YMCA of Greater Des Moines is producing live and recorded virtual classes for its members at all TMCAs across the region. And Valero's ethanol plant in Hartley, Iowa, has begun making hand sanitizers for local hospitals and emergency responders.

Gov. Calls For Special Session To Change Primary Vote

(Madison, WI) -- The governor is calling a special session of the legislature to delay the spring election. Tony Evers issued the order today for the session to begin tomorrow afternoon. Instead of holding the primary on Tuesday, the governor wants an all-mail-in election. He wants a bill to include a measure to send a ballot to every Wisconsinite by May 19th and extend the date to receive votes to May 26th.

COVID-19 Cases Climb

(Madison, WI) -- The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin increases by over 180 in a day. The Department of Health Services says today there are 19-hundred-and-12 coronavirus cases in the Badger State and 31 people have died from the virus. Milwaukee County has 951 of the total COVID-19 cases and has half the deaths at 16. 

Marshfield Medical Center to Start Running COVID-19 Tests Next Week

(Eau Claire, WI) -- The Marshfield Medical Center-Eau Claire will start running COVID-19 tests, which will shorten the time patients can expect to receive their results. The hospital will be able to turn around test results within hours, compared with several days it can take at state and commercial labs. Hospital officials say they hope to start running tests as early as next week. They plan to be able to run up to 150 specimens each day.

Jobless Claims Jump Across Wisconsin 

(Madison, WI) -- Wisconsin's unemployment rate is soaring as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Jobless claims increased by more than 82-thousand this week. The total number of unemployment claims since March 18th exceeds a quarter-million. State unemployment insurance officials call the increase unprecedented, more than the double the rate experienced during the recession more than ten years ago.

Almost Two-Thousand Absentee Ballots Cast in Dunn County for Tuesday's Election

(Menomonie, WI) -- Nearly two-thousand absentee ballots have been cast in Dunn County for next Tuesday's election. That total is more than four times the number of absentee ballots cast in last spring's election. Today is the last day to request an absentee ballot at the My-Vote Wisconsin website. Requests must be completed by five p-m.

Eau Claire Moves Polling Places

(Eau Claire, WI) -- Election officials have moved three of the polling places for next week's election in Eau Claire. The three are being moved to larger facilities in order to maintain social distancing guidelines. The polling place at Pentacostal on Ninth Avenue is being moved to Menards Tennis Center. The polling place at Our Redeemer Church on Fall Street is moving to the Eau Claire Labor Temple and the site at the Davies Center on the Wisconsin University-Eau Claire campus is moving to Zorn Arena.

Coalition of Nonprofits Organize to Coordinate Response to COVID-19

(Eau Claire, WI) -- Several area nonprofits have organized to help coordinate efforts in the community toward the COVID-19 outbreak. The coalition is called Together Chippewa Valley. It's also designed to raise funds and support members of the coalition. Contributions can be made at the website of Together Chippewa Valley-dot-org.

Target Will Provide Workers Masks, Gloves, Monitor Number Of Shoppers In Stores

(Minneapolis, MN) -- Minneapolis-based Target Corporation plans to provide its 350-thousand workers in stores and distribution centers with face masks and gloves at the start of their shift. The retail giant also announced yesterday that it will start monitoring the number of shoppers in each store and limit them if needed. Target will phase in the protective gear over the next two weeks. They will also expect to provide face masks and gloves to Shipt shoppers as they enter its stores to pick items for same-day deliveries.

Timberwolves Head Coach Ryan Saunders And Wife Donate To Twin Cities Community

(Minneapolis, MN) -- Wolves head coach Ryan Saunders and his wife Hayley are making major contribution to Twin Cities youngsters during the COVID-19 pandemic. The couple plan to donate ten-thousand healthy MATTERbox snack packs to be distributed through the Mount Airy and Jerry Gamble Boys& Girls Club locations. Each snack pack consists of a whole grain cracker, unsweetened applesauce, protein WOW butter, a goal card and a handwritten "You Matter" note of encouragement.

St. Paul Saints Sitting Tight While Focusing On May 19th Opening Day

(St. Paul, MN) -- The St. Paul Saints remain optimistic that their baseball season will get started next month despite the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. The 2019 American Association champions are moving forward with just a few changes to their typical preseason regimen. The team and other league organizations are still proceeding with May 19th as Opening Day. The only official schedule change has been delaying the start of team training camps from May 7th to May 14th. The Saints have put ticket marketing on hold.

Pritzker Activates Guard To Assist Medical Teams At Prison

(Springfield, IL) -- Governor J.B. Pritzker is deploying members of the Illinois National Guard to assist medical teams at a prison north of Joliet. Guard members will be working at Stateville Correctional Center, where 64 inmates and workers have contracted COVID-19. The maximum security facility is on lockdown to prevent movement around the building. The group's commander says they will be part of several missions at the facility to support and relieve medical staffers.

Enough Protective Gear To Act For Some Peoria First Responders

(Peoria, IL) -- A group of first responders in Peoria say they have enough protective gear to be able to effectively serve the public. Representatives say Advanced Medical Transport of Central Illinois say they are well stocked. The company says it has taken lessons from past outbreaks and prepared ahead of time.

Mechanics Losing Business, Continuing To Work During COVID-19 Pandemic

(Peoria, IL) -- Central Illinois auto shops are losing business, but are still open during the COVID-19 pandemic. The shops are considered an essential business under Governor J.B. Pritzker's stay-at-home order. Owners say they're taking extra precautions to keep workers and customers safe.