A Friday Afternoon Regional Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

IDPH: Four Additional Deaths, Nearly 200-More Positive COVID Cases 

(Des Moines, IA) --  The Iowa Department of Public Health is confirming four-more deaths in the state from COVID-19 bringing the state death toll to 64. The department is also confirming an additional 191-cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to over two-thousand-30-cases. Governor Reynolds today ordered schools to remain closed for the rest of the 2020 academic year.

Cedar Rapids Under Extended Restrictions from Governor

(Cedar Rapids, IA) -- Cedar Rapids is now under extended restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Reynolds yesterday signed a new order to extend restrictions on gatherings in RMCC Region 6 to immediate family only. The restrictions previously limited people living in the region to gatherings of 10-people or less, but now people are only supposed to share activities with the people they live with. People who break any of the governor's orders during this time could face a simple misdemeanor charge and fine of up to 625-dollars.

Waterloo John Deere Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19

(Waterloo, IA) -- The Waterloo John Deere plant is confirming that one of their contractors is testing positive for COVID-19. Company officials said the person tested positive on Tuesday, but has been in quarantine since the end of March. The company says they have since activated their response plan to figure out who the contractor could have been in contact with and sanitized the areas of the factory where they worked. 

Rural Residents Can Now Bring Trash to Johnson County Center 

(Iowa City, IA) -- Rural Johnson County residents can now bring their household trash and recycling to the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center. A spokesperson for the center says beginning April 20th, the Johnson County Rural Cleanup Program will allow people in rural Johnson County with limited options for waste removal to bring in their recycling and household trash only. The center is open from 7 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. Monday through Friday and closed to all customers on Saturday due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The spokesperson says residents also must provide an I.D.

Cedar Rapids Woman Waits for Stimulus Check 

(Cedar Rapids, IA) -- A Cedar Rapids woman says she's now waiting three more months to get her federal stimulus check because the I-R-S deposited the money into the wrong account. Taffie [[ ta-fee ]] Preston told KCRG-TV9 that she was excited for her federal funds to come in because she needed the money, but after tracking the check through the I-R-S website, she discovered the money was sent to an old account she hadn't used in years. She says Thursday her bank said the check was rejected and sent back, so she'll have to wait to get a paper check in the mail that could take up to ten weeks. To check the status of your stimulus check, go to the I-R-S website and click "Get My Payment." Sen. Grassley: Test More People for COVID-19 Before U.S. Re-Opens

(Washington, D.C.) -- U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley says more people need to be tested for COVID-19 before the country re-opens. Senator Grassley was invited yesterday to join a federal task force focused on jumpstarting the economy after the pandemic subsides. President Trump yesterday said governors could begin re-opening businesses and other public activities by May 1st or earlier after previously stating the ultimate authority is that of the President. Senator Grassley said the president knows he must work with state governors to first lighten restrictions in areas with low transmission and gradually re-open harder hit areas. 

Travel Experts Advise People to Purchase Flights

(Des Moines, IA) -- Travel experts are advising people to take advantage of low flight costs amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A spokesperson at the Des Moines International Airport says there's legislation to return airfare costs to consumers who had their flight cancelled because of the pandemic. Experts say airlines are also losing revenue, so once the pandemic subsides, the airlines will work to reassure consumers that flights are once again safe and sanitary. 

Mercer County Confirms Fifth COVID-19 Case 

(Mercer Co., IL) -- Mercer County health officials are confirming a fifth case of COVID-19 in the county. Officials say the person is a woman between 20-and-40 years old. The health department says they're now working to identify everyone who came into contact with the woman so those individuals can self-quarantine. Health officials today said they're continuing to encourage residents to practice the public health guidelines provided over the past several weeks to prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

Davenport Pizza Shop Donates One-Thousand Dollars to Animal Shelter 

(Davenport, IA) -- Lopiez [[low-pies]] Pizza is donating one-thousand-dollars to King's Harvest Animal Shelter. The Davenport pizza shop teamed up with W-W-E star and family member Colby [[cole-bee] Lopez to make the donation today. Lopiez named its famous Primo pizza after their cousin Colby, so Lopez matched the money brought in by the pizza's sales over the month of March to make the donation possible. Lopez says he loves animals, and figured Kings Harvest was the best place to donate amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Davenport Hotel Offers Free Stays for Healthcare Workers 

(Davenport, IA) -- A Davenport hotel is offering free stays for first responders and healthcare workers starting Monday. Hotel Blackhawk said they would offer free rooms to healthcare workers and people on the front-lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort not to expose families to possible infection. The Scott County Supervisor said the hotel is only opening up one floor for the workers and designating a specific elevator. The offer will remain available until May 14th. 

COVID-19 Cases Top 4K

(Madison, WI) -- The number of coronavirus cases in Wisconsin tops four-thousand. Data released today confirmed four-thousand-45 positive tests and 205 deaths in the Badger State. Over eleven-hundred people have been hospitalized.

Governor Walz Will Provide Update On Minnesota's Response To Coronavirus

(St. Paul, MN) -- Governor Walz is expected to provide an update on his office's response to the coronavirus pandemic this afternoon. The 2 p.m. event will take place after a planned demonstration, organized by Minnesota groups calling for the state's economy to re-open even though the state's COVID-19 cases are not slowing. Minnesota officials announced yesterday that there were seven more deaths and 103 more cases. That brings the total to 94 deaths and one-thousand-912 confirmed cases, of which one-thousand- 20 have recovered.

Closure Of Minnesota History Center And Other Sites Extended To June 30th

(St. Paul, MN) -- The Minnesota Historical Society has extended the shutdown of its historic sites and museums in response to coronavirus. The society announced yesterday that their action is due to concerns over social distancing in public and decided to cancel all in-person events and field trips through June 30th. The closure was originally scheduled to end May 4th. In the meantime, all workers have been furloughed.

Rep. Kind Introduces Family Farm Relief Plan

(La Crosse, WI) -- State Representative Ron Kind is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide surplus relief for Wisconsin farmers. The Chippewa Herald reports the representative yesterday introduced the Family Farm Rescue Plan that would require the U-S-D-A to purchase surplus foods from family farms and distribute them in local centers to connect rural farmers with their communities. Representative Kind said after hearing Wisconsin farmers felt they were forced to dump milk and euthanize livestock, local efforts just weren't enough to get products out to the community. The representative says the plan does not require any new legislation or federal funding.

Salvation Army Providing Meals to La Crosse Residents 

(La Crosse, WI) -- The Salvation Army is bringing meals and essential items to people in need seven-days-a-week. La Crosse County Volunteer Coordinator says the organization is also providing things like blankets, toilet paper, and hygiene products from the emergency disaster services vehicle. A spokesperson for the Salvation Army says the organization is stopping at seven locations around La Crosse from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. The spokesperson says every meal also comes with a disinfectant wipe and volunteers are following CDC guidelines with masks and gloves. 

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