Gazette Weekend News Update, April 4 and 5

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds holds a news conference on COVID-19 at the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston, IA, on
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds holds a news conference on COVID-19 at the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston, IA, on Friday, April 3, 2020. (Olivia Sun/The Register)

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Your weekend weather forecast is looking pretty nice. According to the National Weather Service, the rainy cold of Friday will give way to a sunny but still crisp Saturday, with a high of 50 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area, and just enough wind to remind you it’s cold outside. Sunday will be sunny as well, with a high of 60 degrees and a calm breeze. Sunday evening could see increasing cloud cover in anticipation of predicted thunderstorms to come on Monday.

85 more positive cases of the coronavirus were reported Friday, bringing the state’s total to 699. There were no deaths from the virus on Friday, leaving the state’s toll at 11 so far.

Much of the controversy on Friday still revolved around Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds resisting calls to issue a shelter-in-place order. Reynolds continued to argue that the incremental closings she had taken were protecting Iowans by promoting social distancing, while keeping the delicate balance of not promoting other negative consequences such as domestic abuse and suicide that could come with forced isolation.

She said the debate is needlessly dividing Iowans. Meanwhile, the state’s Board of Medicine wrote Reynolds a letter asking her to institute a shelter in place policy.

“We have been made aware that the public may be confused about what it means to effectively practice social distancing, that Iowans are disregarding your recommendation to stay home and that supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) continue to dwindle,” the letter said. “... Not having a shelter-in-place order in place in Iowa needlessly increases Iowans’ exposure to COVID-19.”

Iowa is one of the 5 states in the nation without a statewide shelter-in-place order, joined by North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Arkansas.

The Center for Disease Control, citing the fact that the coronavirus is continuing to spread, and that it can be spread without people realizing they have symptoms, recommended on Friday that Americans, use rudimentary coverings like T-shirts, bandannas and non-medical masks to cover their faces while outdoors. This is especially true of populations hard hit by the virus. 

In non COVID-19 news, Gov. Kim Reynolds on Friday appointed a West Des Moines lawyer with longtime ties to the state’s Republican party as the newest Iowa Supreme Court justice. Reynolds named 42-year-old Matthew McDermott to fill the vacancy left when former Justice David Wiggins, a Democratic appointee, retired last month. McDermott is Reynolds’ fourth appointment to the state Supreme Court.

This weekend briefing is sponsored in part by Corridor Careers, now offering a virtual job fair coming up this Thursday, April 9, from 3 to 6 pm. For more job information, and to get yourself registered for the event, visit CorridorCareers.com/events.