Gazette Daily News Podcast, October 27

Bell next to the outdoor chapel at Camp Wapsie in Coggon, Iowa, at the Centennial Celebration for the camp on Saturday,
Bell next to the outdoor chapel at Camp Wapsie in Coggon, Iowa, at the Centennial Celebration for the camp on Saturday, June 9, 2018. (The Gazette)

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This is Nathan Ford with the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Tuesday, Oct. 27.

It will be partly sunny in Cedar Rapids today with a high near 40, according to the National Weather Service.

Iowa saw its fifth peak in hospitalizations in the past eight days as hospital admittances for COVID-19 climbed from 541 to 561 as of 11 a.m. yesterday. Seventeen southeast Iowa counties account for 126 of those hospitalizations. Additionally, ICU admissions statewide jumped from 119 to 129 patients, and the number of patients on ventilators inched up from 42 to 45. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it is sending 950,000 COVID-19 rapid point of care antigen tests to the state. The rapid tests can diagnose coronavirus infection in as little as 15 minutes, according to a news release.

With over $1 million in lost revenue, Camp Wapsie, a program of the YMCA, is struggling to refund campers' fees after canceling all its summer programs because of the coronavirus. More than 1,700 campers were registered for Camp Wapsie’s 2020 summer programs, and for the first time since the camp opened 102 years ago, programs were canceled. Families were given three options after camp was canceled: a full reimbursement, donating all or a portion of the money to the camp or putting it toward 2021 programs. Over half of campers' families asked for a refund and others asked for credit for future programs. About 15 percent wanted to donate the money, Camp Wapsie executive director Paul Denowski said. Denowski said the camp is unable to refund all the money at the same time. Five Camp Wapsie employees have been on furlough since September. The financial hardships Camp Wapsie is facing is part of a larger picture of decreased revenue for the YMCA this year. President and CEO of the YMCA of the Cedar Rapids Metro Area Bob Carlson said the YMCA is down 40 percent in its operations this year, and they’re looking for grants and private contributions to help offset some of that loss.

With time running out on the 2020 presidential campaign, Vice President Mike Pence, former Vice President Joe Biden and Donald Trump Jr. are all headed to Iowa. The younger Trump leads off with a campaign rally for his father, President Donald Trump, tonight in downtown Cedar Rapids. Trump will speak at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 50 Second Ave. Bridge, at 6:30 p.m. Doors open at 5. Pence is scheduled to return to Iowa on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. for a campaign rally at the Des Moines airport. On Friday, Biden will make his first trip to Iowa since the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses Feb. 3. No details about his visit have been announced.