KXEL Morning News for Fri. Jul. 03, 2020

KXEL Morning News for Fri. Jul. 03, 2020

Yesterday morning, Speaker of the House Pat Grassley of New Hartford and Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver of Ankeny issued a joint statement regarding protests that turned violent and led to multiple arrests at the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon. They say leadership strongly supports the actions taken by law enforcement. “Assaulting, disarming, and spitting on law enforcement is never acceptable and will not be tolerated by any group on the Capitol grounds,” they said. Around 20 people were arrested when protests turned violent inside the building and out on the grounds.

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced yesterday she has directed that $490 million of the $1.25 billion in coronavirus relief funds Iowa was provided through the CARES Act be deposited into Iowa’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.  The deposit will ensure that eligible Iowans continue to receive unemployment insurance benefits, and will also enable Iowa employers to remain in what is known as Tax Table 7 for 2021. Iowa has not been charging employers with claims made by laid off employees to ensure employers would not see their tax rates go up because of these claims. Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend says this action will save Iowa employers more than $400 million in unemployment taxes.

Police in Dubuque are investigating a deadly shooting shortly before 6 p.m. last evening. Officers say one person was shot in the 400 block of Loras Blvd.; the victim was taken to the hospital, where he died. Police say there is not a threat to the public, but investigation continues. Neither the victim or any suspects have been named.

Beginning today, MercyOne locations in northeast Iowa will return to a no visitor policy because of a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases. Hospital officials say this is being done to avoid putting patients at risk of coming in contact with those who may asymptomatic. Those locations include: Waterloo Medical Center, Cedar Falls Medical Center, and Oelwein Medical Center. There are some exceptions to the policy including patients receiving end of life care, maternity patients and children admitted to the hospital. Those patients will be allowed to have one visitor who passes a screening before entry.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Johnson County, University of Iowa Health Care is also seeing more cases among its employees. Officials say there is no evidence the staff is getting the virus from patients, or that patients have gotten it from staff. Staff that has tested positive are sent home to isolate until they have improved without the use of fever-reducing medicine. Officials say cases in the staff reflect the cases in the community, which are mostly 18-25-year old people who have tested positive after going to large social gatherings. As the holiday weekend approaches, UIHC warns people going out to celebrate to wear masks and social distance, avoid large gatherings, and not to share food in order to stay safe.

Muscatine’s Mayor says she will be issuing a city-wide mandatory face mask proclamation soon. Mayor Diana Broderson says she will be holding a news conference on Sunday at 2 p.m. to make the announcement. Mason City’s mayor has also made this mandate. But according to Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, mayors don’t have the authority to do this because it isn’t consistent with the Governor’s latest proclamation, which does not require the use of face coverings.

State health officials say the number of confirmed positive coronavirus cases in Iowa continues to increase with 676 new positive cases reported yesterday in the prior 24 hour period. The new cases brought the state’s total known positive cases to 29,966. No additional deaths reported, however, so the number of deaths remained at 717. Iowa Department of Public Health data indicates positive case numbers had been in decline since peaking in early May but began a slow climb again around mid-June. The increased cases are tied to young adults.

Iowa state prison officials say an inmate at a state prison in Fort Dodge has tested positive for the new coronavirus. The Iowa Department of Corrections says in a news release that the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility inmate is a male adult under the age of 40 and has been in medical isolation since first notifying staff that he was not feeling well on Tuesday. Prisons officials say he is experiencing mild symptoms and will receive medical care as necessary as he recovers. Prison officials say the unit where the inmate was housed has been placed on quarantine status, and additional testing at the prison is underway.

The remaining season for the the Old Creamery Theatre in Amana is coming to an end due to the coronavirus pandemic. The board of trustees decided to call off the 2020 season and reduce staff due to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases. The theatre has offered virtual classes and camps over the last few months. Recently it added social-distanced outdoor programming. However, those gatherings will not happen for the rest of the season.

Administrators at South Hardin Schools are warning families one of its graduates who participated in a graduation ceremony last Saturday is confirmed to have had COVID-19. The graduate didn’t show symptoms, but was aware of their exposure through contract tracing. Administrators said they are urging those who attended the June 27th ceremony to self-monitor symptoms, avoid close contact with people at risk for severe illness because of COVID-19 and follow CDC guidelines if symptoms develop.