KXEL Morning News for Wed. Apr. 08, 2020

KXEL Morning News for Wed. Apr. 08, 2020

Iowa Department of Public Health reported 102 additional positive Covid-19 cases yesterday from the day before, for a total of 1,048. IDPH says an additional death was reported, in Benton County. Between Monday and Tuesday, new cases totaled 3 in Black Hawk, 16 in Johnson, and 11 in Linn County.

There are three long-term care facilities in the state of Iowa dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks and Tuesday state officials released the names of all three. We previously told you that Heritage Specialty Care in Linn County experienced an outbreak, defined as if more than three residents test positive. Officials confirm that the other two are Premier Estates of Toledo in Tama County, and the McCreedy Home in Washington County.

Those who are reported as ill are not identified by name, and only loosely by gender and age…Congressman Steve King told me yesterday on KXEL Live & Local that given the health implications, there could be a public benefit to identifying individuals. They’re still figuring out how to hand out $2.2 trillion in support…and now arms of the federal government are talking about another similar bill sooner than later. Congressman Steve King told me yesterday the bill does have a cost…but in context, it’s far less than the cost per person for Obamacare.  You can hear the full interview by listening to the podcast at kxel-dot-com.

The Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors yesterday rejected calling for a statewide “safe at home” order. Supervisors voted 3-2 against a resolution asking Gov. Kim Reynolds to issue the order for all residents to stay at home unless they’re getting groceries, medical care or working at an “essential” job. Supervisors Linda Laylin, Tom Little and Craig White voted against the resolution, while Chris Schwartz and Dan Trelka supported it. The action came the morning after the Waterloo City Council voted 6-1 to support a similar call, while the Cedar Falls City Council voted unanimously against it. After a phone conversation with Gov. Reynolds yesterday, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the President’s coronavirus task force agreed that the series of orders in Iowa are more restrictive than ‘stay at home’ orders in many other states.

An appeal has been filed in a case challenging Waterloo’s ‘ban the box’ ordinance. The Iowa Association of Business and Industry challenged the ordinance in Black Hawk County District Court…last Friday, a judge granted the city’s application for summary judgment, saying the action fell under the city’s “home rule”. However, the Iowa legislature passed a statute three years ago pre-empting cities from setting their own employment standards, such as minimum wage laws; determining the scope of that law is the basis for the appeal.

All state employees at the Linn County Courthouse were sent home yesterday because an employee became sick and was tested for COVID-19. Linn County Attorney Jerry VanderSanden says the employee is a maintenance worker at the courthouse and was at the building last Thursday…test results not yet available. Out of an abundance of caution, Chief Judge Patrick Grady ordered every associated with the state court system to leave the building. The courthouse is undergoing a thorough cleaning according to CDC guidelines and court operations are expected to resume today.

Waterloo Fire Rescue is urging members of the communities to do their part in ensuring they are also following the social distancing and self-quarantine recommendations of CDC and other health officials. This comes after Waterloo Fire Rescue received confirmation that a member of the department has tested positive for COVID-19. The department has been practicing social distancing, self-screening, frequent handwashing and routine cleaning in accordance with and in some cases beyond CDC and public health guidance since mid-March. WFR ask that residents utilize the 911 system for true emergencies only. For less urgent needs, a primary healthcare provider should be the first contact. This will allow responders to focus their efforts on those that are truly experiencing an emergency situation and assure that PPE is available to mitigate risk in the safest way possible for everyone involved.

Waterloo school officials are offering a limited pickup option for Chromebooks…this is for elementary students in grades two through five as well as Expo program students…the devices are available to students who do not otherwise have access to one in their home. The Chromebooks will be available at the district’s 11 elementary schools this afternoon from 4 to 6 p.m. These are equipment loans, with no more than one per family…the district says more information will come soon for those who do not have internet access at home.