Gazette Daily News Podcast, Dec. 2, 2020

Recliners have replaced traditional theater seating in all five auditoriums of Collins Road Theatres. (Courtesy Bruce Ta
Recliners have replaced traditional theater seating in all five auditoriums of Collins Road Theatres. (Courtesy Bruce Taylor)

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Here’s your daily update for Dec. 2, 2020:

Iowa Coronavirus Case Growth Continues Downward Trend

Coronavirus 7-day average 2184 new cases, down from 2468, 7th day of decrease in a row. Hospitalizations saw a slight uptick from 1162 to 1172, but that’s part of a downward trend consisting of several streaks of decreases following the record high 1127 on 11/18. Patients in ICU are also slowly trending downward.

A UI epidemiologist 'more optimistic' about COVID-19 but says Iowans should 'hunker down a little bit longer'

Jorge Salinas sees reasons to remain hopeful — but also vigilant — about the prolonged pandemic.

During a Facebook live Q&A, he said he’s been more optimistic. An advisory committee for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has discussed which groups of people should get the first doses of a vaccine, which he notes is 95 percent effective in preventing infection. While Jorge thinks we have a ways to go, he predicts things should be getting back to normal by the end of next year.

45% of Iowa waters impaired, including Lake Macbride, parts of Cedar and Iowa rivers

Nearly 600 water body segments reviewed for the 2020 Iowa Department of Natural Resources draft list of impaired waters — meaning they don’t meet at least one standard for their intended use such as drinking, recreation or supporting aquatic life.

Fortunately, for the first time, the number of category 4 and 5 impairments saw a net drop.

The biggest water quality problem for Iowa’s rivers and streams is bacteria, while lakes and reservoirs suffer most from algal growth, Krier said.

More than one-third of the fish kills included in the report were caused by animal waste.

Sen. Chuck Grassley sees possibility for bipartisan work with Biden administration

Sen. Chuck Grassley, who served with then-Sen. Joe Biden for nearly three decades, sees a possibility for advancing bipartisan legislation during the president-elect’s administration.

If President Biden serves as he did as a senator, Grassley said, “there’s a great deal of opportunity to get a bipartisan product.”

However, those opportunities will be diminished if Biden bows to pressure from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, the Iowa Republican said Tuesday.

Grassley, who returned to the Capitol on Monday following a two-week isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, made his comments during a virtual presentation to more than 60 members of the Iowa Taxpayers Association.

Collins Road Theatres reopens soon with recliners, COVID filters in air system

Customers will notice some readily apparent changes when the Collins Road Theatres, across from Lindale Mall in Marion, reopen this month. But some upgrades will not be so obvious.

Recliners have replaced traditional theater seating in all five auditoriums, reducing the venue from a total of about 850 seats to close to 360. But theater owner Bruce Taylor says he would rather fill 60 seats with happy people than 400 seats with people who would rather have recliners.

Customers will be able to reserve seats online for a specific movie showing. When two adjoining seats are reserved, the next seat will be marked with an “X” to indicate it is not available, to ensure social distancing.

In addition, each auditorium has new ceiling tiles, carpet and paint. Seven rooftop heating, ventilating and air-conditioning units — including five replaced after the storm — meet minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV, air-filtration standards for COVID-19 protection.

While studios have delayed most major blockbuster movies until 2021, Wonder Woman 1984 will release on Christmas day, and theaters can be reserved for up to 20 people for $100 or $120, depending on whether it’s a new or classic movie.

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