KXEL Morning News for Thu. Mar. 26, 2020

KXEL Morning News for Thu. Mar. 26, 2020

The Iowa Department of Public Health says it has been notified of 21 new coronavirus cases in the state. This brings the total number of cases in Iowa to 145. But there have been a total of 2,578 negative lab tests so far. The new cases include one in Linn County, six in Johnson County, and the first two reported in Benton County.

The virus has hospitalized 23 Iowans, a number that’s increasing daily…but officials say 12 people have been released and are recovering at home.

Gov. Kim Reynolds said yesterday Iowa’s hospitals and health care infrastructure is ready for more cases.

Pepsico North Americas Foods says an employee at the Quaker Oats facility in Cedar Rapids has tested positive for COVID-19. Employees who were in contact with that employee are now in quarantine. Officials say they have closed certain lines and common areas and are conducting a deep cleaning of targeted plant areas. They note there is a low risk of spread from surfaces, products or packages.

As more is learned about the COVID-19 virus, prevention and treatment changes, according to Dr. Caitlin Pedati, Iowa State Medical Director and Epidemiologist.

Out of an abundance of caution Goodwill Industries of Northeast Iowa is temporarily closing its retail stores in Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Dubuque, Waverly, Independence, Oelwein, Decorah, Dyersville, Maquoketa and Toledo, until further notice. In addition, all administrative buildings, donation centers, and outlet store are closed to the general public.

Secretary of State Paul Pate is extending the absentee voting period to 40 days for Iowans who choose to vote by mail in the June 2nd primary. This is by authority granted under Iowa law during a disaster. (AUDIO)  Curbside voting, as always, is an option for Iowans with disabilities and those who might have difficulty entering a polling place. This option will also be available in the June primary to voters who are in the high-risk population for the coronavirus. 

UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care-United Medical Park has transitioned to a respiratory illness clinic. The clinic, at 1731 W. Ridgeway Ave., will be dedicated to the triage and treatment of patients with respiratory illnesses. United Medical Park was chosen for the respiratory illness clinic because of its centralized location in the Cedar Valley and infrastructure in place to effectively screen visitors as they arrive.

Cedar Valley United Way officials say their 2019 campaign yielded a half million dollars less than the year before…$2.67 million was raised in 2019, compared with the record $3.14 million in 2018. Last year’s total, however, was the lowest in about a decade.

The staff adviser to Iowa State University’s student government has resigned and received a $47,000 severance payout, weeks after student activists demanded his firing over an old social media post showing him in blackface. A separation agreement shows that Alex Krumm and university President Wendy Wintersteen agreed that his continued employment was no longer “in their best interests” and he resigned March 1. His departure came days after administrators met with a group called Students Against Racism to discuss its demand for Krumm’s termination and other changes. Krumm came under fire for a 2015 Instagram post that showed his face painted black when he played a mime in a student production at Wartburg College. 

One of Des Moines’ taller and more colorful office buildings will house hotel guests by 2022 under a plan being developed by its owner. Floors one through 13 of the Financial Center would become the hotel with 190 guest rooms and include a food market, coffee shop and an upscale restaurant. Floors 14 through 25 would be upgraded for office tenants and have separate elevator access. Wells Fargo announced last year that it was leaving 13 floors in the Financial Center, which is known for lights that change with current events. It opened in 1972.