Gov. Kim Reynolds announced today 78 additional cases of COVID-19 in Iowa, totaling 946 positive cases to date. Reynolds said three more Iowans died from the disease bringing the state’s death toll to 25. One of those new deaths is from Linn County, while the other two are from Tama County.
Reynolds also announced she’s ordering the closure of several more businesses until at least April 30, including malls, bowling alleys, libraries, museums, tobacco and vaping stores, campgrounds, and outdoor and indoor playgrounds…all in addition to the list of entities already ordered closed. In addition, all unsolicited door-to-door sales are prohibited. Livestock auctions of food animals with more than 25 people and all other auctions with more than 10 people are also now prohibited.
Gov. Kim Reynolds is ordering malls and playgrounds be closed, and she again urged Iowans to stay home during what she called a critical week for containing the coronavirus pandemic. Reynolds said at a news conference yesterday morning that police will begin enforcing her order to ban gatherings of 10 people and that violators could be warned or charged criminally. The more aggressive moves come as the number of cases increases. The governor yesterday confirmed two more nursing homes have outbreaks involving at least three residents who have tested positive.
Among the types of businesses ordered closed by the governor…Iowa’s gaming casinos. As Wes Ehrecke of the Iowa Gaming Association told me during an interview on KXEL Live & Local, the impact of a casino shutdown affects far more than just the casino itself. More information is at iowagaming.org, and you can hear the full interview by going to the podcast section of kxel-dot-com.
The American Red Cross is holding a blood drive this Thursday at the Hilton Garden Inn in Cedar Falls. Judi Faas of the Red Cross notes additional precautions will be taken at the drive to help keep staff and blood donors safe. The drive is Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the ballroom of the Hilton Garden Inn in Cedar Falls.
Mercy has established a second dedicated location to care for patients with respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. The new site is MercyCare Prairie Creek in Cedar Rapids, in addition to MercyCare Marion Urgent Care. These respiratory clinics are available for patients with a referral only and not walk-in appointments. Ancillary services, such as imaging and testing for COVID-19, are available at both respiratory illness clinics.
Kraft Heinz Cedar Rapids factory reported a positive case of coronavirus last Friday. Officials say the person was last in the facility two days before that and is being treated. No production was scheduled for the weekend, which allowed the regular sanitation plus an additional deep clean. The plant operated as normal yesterday.
Western Home Communities said an employee at Winding Creek Meadows Assisted Living in Jesup, Iowa, tested positive for COVID-19 this past Saturday. Officials say that employee is getting medical care and will not return to work until completing isolation requirements. Winding Creek Meadows is home to 20 people. Workers are screening residents for temperatures and respiratory symptoms twice a day. The facility has not allow visitors or volunteers since March 12, the same day the dining room there closed and meal delivery started. Group activities there ended five days later.
A woman was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries after her vehicle struck the side of a semi…this happened just before 11 a.m. yesterday at U.S. Highway 63 and Dunkerton Road. The semi, operated by 41-year-old Scott Torkelson of Thornton, was southbound on Highway 63 when a car driven by 51-year-old Sharon Kaufman of Waterloo went west across the highway on Dunkerton Road. Kaufman did not see the semi due to a plastic bag over her passenger side window. She was charged with failure to yield from a stop sign.
Police have identified a woman who investigators believe was intentionally run down by a driver and killed as she walked her dog in a Des Moines neighborhood. Police say 38-year-old Lauren Rice and her dog, Holiday, were killed Sunday morning. Officers found Rice and the dog dead at the scene. Police say a pickup truck driven by 49-year-old Jason Robert Sassman jumped a curb, crashed through a utility pole and drove through several yards before hitting Rice and the dog. Police say Sassman continued on in the truck until it became disabled, then took off on foot before he was arrested. He been charged with first-degree murder and animal neglect.