Iowa’s first death linked to the COVID-19 coronavirus was confirmed last night…Gov. Kim Reynolds identified the person as a Dubuque County resident between 61 and 80 years of age. During a news conference yesterday afternoon, both the governor and public health officials said they had no plans to issue a “shelter in place” order like those in some neighboring states. And Gov. Reynolds said she will act independently about when to advise Iowans to resume business…the President yesterday said he hoped the country was “opened up” again by Easter, just less than three weeks away.
Nineteen new positive cases of COVID-19 were confirmed yesterday in our state, bringing the total of known cases to 124 across 30 of the state’s 99 counties. There are also a total of 2,315 negative tests recorded so far in Iowa. Polk County announced it will open a shelter at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines for homeless people with COVID-19. President Trump last night issued an order making federal emergency aid available in Iowa to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in areas affected by the COVID-19 pandemic…much of it with a federal cost share of 75 percent.
The Whirlpool Corporation’s facility in Amana is shutting down temporarily because one employee has tested positive for COVID-19. Officials say that person has not been at the facility since March 17 but did report close contact with one other employee, who has since been sent home. The plant is now closed, so company officials can determine who else may have come in close contact with both employees…and so deep cleaning procedures, according to CDC guidelines, can take place.
A Waterloo teen is accused of breaking into an automobile dealership after hours and driving off the lot in a stolen car. Police arrested 19-year-old Tarshawn Antwon Dixon in the stolen auto following a chase. They say he then bonded out of jail and returned to the C&S auto dealership to grab another set of car keys…this all happened in the late night Monday/early morning hours yesterday. Charges include two counts of third-degree burglary, theft of a motor vehicle, eluding and reckless driving.
Black Hawk County government held its property tax increase to one half of a percent for the next fiscal year…the County Board of Supervisors yesterday unanimously approved the budget which raises the tax rate slightly, but it turns out to be a tax cut for residential property owners due to changes in the state rollback, which shifts the burden onto business owners. The budget calls for hiring deputies for additional courthouse security and a social worker to work with jail inmates, and allows the county to improve technology services.
A Waterloo man has been arrested, accused of making a female acquaintance drive out of state against her will. Authorities said 23-year-old Nathaniel Steven Hartness was stopped in Nebraska on Monday and arrested, and the woman was freed. Hartness was charged with false imprisonment and tampering with a witness. Court records indicate Hartness and the woman had been talking about leaving Waterloo, and she picked him up in her vehicle. But she changed her mind about leaving. That’s when officials say Hartness became angry and wouldn’t let her turn around. At one point, the woman called family from the bathroom of a Walmart in Lexington, Nebraska, and told them she was being held against her will. Their vehicle was found not long after.