Your Wednesday Afternoon Regional Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

>IDPH: New COVID-19 Cases Bring State Total to 1,145

(Des Moines, IA) -- The Iowa Department of Public Health is confirming an additional 97-cases of COVID-19 in the state. The new total is up to one-thousand-145-cases in over 70 Iowa counties. There has also been one additional death bringing the state death toll to 27.

Governor Reynolds Announces New Cases, Economic Impact of COVID-19

(Des Moines, IA) -- Governor Kim Reynolds announced 97-new COVID-19 cases in Iowa bringing the total to one-thousand-145 cases. Governor Reynolds today said that with the addition of Worth County, there are now confirmed cases in 79-Iowa counties. The governor says she and state leaders are looking at the economic impact of the virus as its expected peak is projected for later this month. Reynolds also said she'll expand the states' economic relief program from four-million to 24-million-dollars.

DMPS Moves to Online Model for Rest of School Year

(Des Moines, IA) -- Des Moines Public Schools are moving to an online model for the rest of the school year. The district today announced their decision to take on a virtual learning model that begins next week for high school seniors, April 20th for other high school grades, and April 27th for all other grade levels. The district says it will provide a computer and necessary internet access to all high school seniors later this week, and will provide all other students with the same tools next week. Governor Kim Reynolds has not cancelled schools for the rest of the year statewide though her latest order expires at the end of the month. 

Polk County Sheriff's Office Launches Program to Help Identify Lost or Wandering People

(Des Moines, IA) -- The Polk County Sheriff's Office is launching a new program to help locate lost or wandering people. The LOST program, or Loved Ones Stay Together program announced today establishes a computer database containing information that could help officers identify people with Alzheimer's, dementia, Autism, or other medical conditions that could result in the person becoming lost or wandering. The sheriff's office says the program comes in good timing for Autism Awareness Month and helps officers focus on useful projects during the COVID-19 pandemic. Families and caretakers can request an application be emailed to them and sent back to the Community Relations Division at community-relations-at-polk-county-iowa-dot-gov. 

Governor Reynolds Announces New Cases, Economic Impact of COVID-19

(Des Moines, IA) -- Governor Kim Reynolds announced 97-new COVID-19 cases in Iowa bringing the total to one-thousand-145 cases. Governor Reynolds today said that with the addition of Worth County, there are now confirmed cases in 79-Iowa counties. The governor says she and state leaders are looking at the economic impact of the virus as its expected peak is projected for later this month. Reynolds also said she'll expand the states' economic relief program from four-million to 24-million-dollars.

Scott County COVID-19 Cases Rise to 77

(Scott Co., IA) -- Eleven new COVID-19 cases are confirmed in Scott County. The Iowa Department of Public Health confirmed the new cases today. There are now 77-total confirmed cases in Scott County. There are one-thousand-145 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Iowa. There have also been 27-deaths. 

Blood Center Wants Recovered COVID-19 Patients To Donate Plasma 

(Cedar Rapids, IA)  -- The Mississippi Valley Blood Center is asking people who tested positive for COVID-19 to make a plasma donation. Officials say they want people who are at least 28-days recovered from COVID-19 to donate their plasma because it helps hospitalized people continue fighting their COVID-19 diagnosis. A spokesperson for the blood center says while this isn't the cure to coronavirus, it's helping patients until a vaccine is found. The blood center isn't reserving appointments yet, but it will be soon.  

Dubuque City Leaders Shy Away From County-Wide Shelter In Place 

(Dubuque, IA) -- Dubuque city leaders are wishing they had more authority to issue a county-wide shelter in place order. The Board of Supervisors considered the idea Monday, but County Attorney C-J May objected stating that only Governor Reynolds could issue a shelter-in-place order. Officials say two of three leaders said they would not go against the County Attorney, but Chairperson Dave Baker said county leaders can still encourage the Governor to take that extra step and give law enforcement the opportunity to issue more citations. 

Rehabilitation Home Trying To Keep Clients Clean 

(Cedar Rapids, IA) -- A recovery home in Eastern Iowa is doing their best to keep clients clean. Safe Place Foundation is a nonprofit that rehabilitates substance abusers who are working to turn their lives around. Safe Place says they're currently hosting around 30-men. Foundation leaders say they're trying to help their clients stay positive though many recently lost their jobs in the food industry due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it's become more difficult to travel for job interviews because of limited public transportation. Leaders also say they're doing their best to maintain social distancing guidelines and keep the inside of the building clean.

COVID Cases Rise By 178

(Madison, WI) -- The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in Wisconsin has risen by at least seven from yesterday. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says there have been 99 deaths from COVID 19 in the state. But the DHS didn't include two victims later reported in Milwaukee County which would bring the total to 101 deaths. The state had an increase of 178 positive cases reported in the last 24 hours.

SSM Closing Some Clinics During Pandemic

(Madison, WI) -- Four SSM Health clinics are closing their doors during the COVID-19 crisis. Officials say SSM Health Dean Medical Group in Deerfield, Delavan, Evansville and Waterloo will suspend services at the end of business on Friday. Staff from those locations will be moved to help with care at other locations during the coronavirus pandemic. In-person visits can be scheduled at other clinic locations when possible and a Telehealth appointment can also be arranged.

Edgewood College Establishes Student Relief Fund

(Madison, WI) -- A Presidential Relief Fund is being established at Edgewood College for undergraduate students. The college announced today that students can apply for a grant of up to 15 hundred dollars paid in installments in May June and July. The money is will provide immediate cash for basic needs like rent and groceries. Many students work in the service industries and find themselves unemployed during the coronavirus crisis.

Shipt Announces Bonuses For Workers Who Planned To Walk-Off

(Minneapolis, MN) -- Just when Target-owned Shipt workers were about to stage a walk-off to demand hazard pay, the delivery company announced that it would give bonuses to its most effective employees. The same-day delivery business announced yesterday that 100-dollar bonuses would go to shoppers who completed 50 and 100 orders last month. Two-hundred-dollar bonuses would go to shoppers who handled over 100 orders. Meanwhile, Shipt officials will provide safety kits of gloves and hand sanitizer to its most active shoppers and to those in high-risk areas.

Wild To Hold Blood Drive At Excel Energy Center Next Week

(St. Paul, MN) -- The Minnesota Wild will be holding a blood drive at the empty Xcel Center in St. Paul. The event in conjunction with the American Red Cross will take place April 15th. All workers will be wearing protective masks and all donors will need to register ahead of time and have their temperatures taken before entering the venue. All slots for the blood drive have been filled, but the need for blood is still real. Visit the American Red Cross' website to find a blood donation site near you.

Supporters Of Victims Of Domestic Violence Are Concerned About Stay-At-Home Order

(St. Paul, MN) -- Anti-domestic violence advocates are concerned that the state-imposed stay-at-home order is making it difficult for victims of domestic abuse. The head of Violence Free Minnesota Liz Richards spoke before a committee of state legislators on Monday saying targets of domestic violence may not call for help even though services are available. She added that helping victims find housing, transportation and legal services has been among the bigger challenges. Richards also said closed motels and libraries means less temporary shelter and access to the internet to file for unemployment or other services.

Gophers Face Possible $75M Athletics Revenue Hit

(Minneapolis, MN) -- The Gophers athletic department will lose about ten million dollars in revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic. The university's Board of Regents also announced yesterday that that number could reach 75 million dollars if games are canceled this fall. The figures were based on potential losses from ticket revenue, NCAA tournament and TV distributions, donations from boosters and other expected revenue. Athletic Director Mark Coyle and a number of Gopher coaches along with several senior athletic administrators have agreed to voluntary pay cuts of an unknown percentage.

Viterbo University Opens Residence Hall to Healthcare Workers

(La Crosse, WI) -- Viterbo University is opening its residence halls to medical workers next week. The school just finished its second week of online classes and the campus is mostly empty with students back home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Vice President of Student Affairs Rick Trietely [[ TRY-tely ]] says last week the school got a request from three organizations to offer housing for non-coronavirus infected healthcare workers and first responders. The school says it will open two-floors in the Bonaventure Residence Hall on April 14th and can open up to six-floors later if necessary.

Traffic Down Due to Wisconsin Stay at Home Order

(Eau Claire Co., WI) -- There's less traffic on the road after Governor Evers [[ EE-vers ]] safer at home order. Data from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation shows a drop in the average overall vehicles on Highway-53 in Eau Claire from 42-thousand the week of March 8th to nearly half that, two weeks later. In Chippewa County, the traffic drop was similar, down from more than 12-thousand vehicles in mid-March to around eight-thousand in the end of the month.

Eau Claire County Absentee Voting Has Ended

(Eau Claire, WI) -- Time has run out to send in an absentee ballot. A U.S. Supreme Court decision Monday night threw out a lower court ruling to extend the absentee ballot deadline to April 13th. The new ruling said all absentee ballots must have been submitted last night or postmarked yesterday to be counted, though they can arrive at the office as late as April 13th. The Eau Claire County dropbox is now closed.

Country Fest Postponed to August

(Chippewa Valley, WI) -- Two Wisconsin country music festivals are postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Oshkosh's Country USA festival and Country Fest in Chippewa Valley were changed from their original dates, June 25th through 27th, to August 13th through 15th. The Country Fest headliners include Dierks [[ durks ]] Bentley, Thomas Rhett [[ REH-tt ]] and Kane Brown. More information can be found on their website.

Milwaukee Election Commission: Nearly 19 Thousand In-Person Voters Yesterday

(Milwaukee, WI) -- Each of Milwaukee's five in-person voting sites saw just under four thousand people each. The Milwaukee Election Commission yesterday said 18-thousand-803 people voted in-person yesterday. Many of those people waited in a long line to vote. At some points the wait was an hour-and-a-half long. Milwaukee's election commission closed almost all of its polls. Usually there are 180 polls in the city. Yesterday there were just five.

Assembly Speaker Pleased With Election Day

(Burlington, WI) -- The top Republican in the Wisconsin Assembly spent his Election Day helping other people vote. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos yesterday worked at a poll in Burlington. He said he's happy to see people turn out to vote in-person. Vos said the election had to happen, even with the coronavirus outbreak. Vos has said for weeks that Wisconsin cannot completely shut down to avoid the virus.

Wisconsin National Guard Calls Poll Work A Success

(Madison, WI) -- Wisconsin's National Guard commanders say their work on Election Day was a success. Over 24 hundred troops manned the polls in 71 of Wisconsin's 72 counties. Florence County was the only county to not need guardsmen. Some county clerks said turning to the troops to help was the smoothest part of Election Day.

Wisconsin's Coronavirus Cases Growing Slowly

(Madison, WI) --- The number of coronavirus cases in Wisconsin is growing, but not nearly as quickly as last week. The state's Department of Health Services yesterday said that two-thousand-681 people have been confirmed to have the virus. That's only about 100 more people than the day before. Wisconsin's coronavirus death toll is at 95. DHS says more than 28 thousand people have now been tested and cleared.

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