CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus in Iowa, live updates for April 22:

Cedar Rapids Parks & Rec Department announces changes to May programs and events

A sign informing patients, employees and visitors about coronavirus precautions is seen on the front door at the Univers
A sign informing patients, employees and visitors about coronavirus precautions is seen on the front door at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City on April 13. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

8:20 a.m.: C.R. Parks & Rec announces changes for May

CEDAR RAPIDS — Due to the COVID-19 virus, the Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation Department announces changes to programs and events originally scheduled to be held in May.

The following are canceled:

* Pavilion rentals for May 1-15.

* Preseason pool pass sales at Noelridge and Cherry Hill Aquatic Centers for May 2, 9 and 16.

* Mother’s Day Open House at the Noelridge greenhouse, scheduled for May 10. The sale of plants and flowers produced at the greenhouse will be moved online with details to come.

Postponed:

* Noelridge Farmers Market, scheduled to begin May 1, is postponed to a later date.

* The opening of park restrooms, drinking fountains and pavilions are postponed to a date to be determined. Patrons are asked to provide their own drinking water and hand sanitizer.

Parks, trails and dog parks are currently open but other facilities remain closed. The public is urged to visit parks that are not as heavily used. When using parks, follow these guidelines.

* Maintain social distancing standards of a minimum of 6 feet between you and other park users.

* Carry out any trash that is brought into the parks.

* If you have been sick in the last two weeks or have a cough, fever or other flu-like symptoms, stay home.

* Individuals 60 years and older, or those with underlying conditions, should stay at home to avoid potential exposures.

10:35 a.m.: Iowa City offering cloth masks for transit riders

IOWA CITY — Roughly 175 cloth masks have been collected that transit users can have for free if they do not already have one.

The cloth masks are available at the City’s Parking Office, 335 Iowa Avenue, until supplies run out.

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The office is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

9:50 a.m.: Ombudsman urges vigilance in reporting child abuse during social distancing

DES MOINES — Child-abuse reports to the Iowa Department of Human Services fell from 5,033 in February to 4,209 in March, a drop of more than 16 percent.

Most schools in Iowa closed in mid-March. This March’s numbers were also well below those of March 2019, when 4,813 reports were made.

Child advocates believe the lower numbers are due to the abrupt break in relations between students and mandatory reporters such as teachers, school nurses and daycare workers.

In other words, it is unlikely that physical and psychological mistreatment of children is disappearing; instead, it is believed that some child abuse is simply going unnoticed, and ombudsman Kristie Hirschman is calling upon the public to stay on guard against child abuse.

9:35 a.m.: U.S. Cellular donates $325K to Relief Fund

CHICAGO — U.S. Cellular has donated $325,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs COVID-19 Relief Fund to support kids, families and communities.

The donation will be disbursed directly to more than 50 Clubs in U.S. Cellular’s service regions to support the most immediate needs of youth in those areas.

There are seven Iowa and Nebraska clubs that will receive $60,000. They are located in Ames ($5,000), Cedar Rapids ($10,000), Davenport/Moline ($10,000), Des Moines ($10,000), Dubuque ($10,000), Omaha/Council Bluffs ($10,000) and Waterloo ($5,000).

The Boys & Girls Clubs COVID-19 Relief Fund helps ensure Clubs can continue critical COVID-19 response work. These services include providing immediate and near-term relief efforts, such as:

* Distributing food, bottled water and other necessary supplies.

* Operating for longer hours to provide childcare for families of essential workers and first responders.

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* Offering virtual learning and programming to keep kids and teens engaged and on-track academically.

* Playing a critical role in helping kids recover following the crisis by helping heal youth trauma and enabling teens to contribute to the workforce as the economy rebuilds.

5:30 p.m.: Genova is donating laptops to local care facilities

Genova will donate laptops to local care facilities including Keystone, Willow Gardens, Briarwood, and MeadowView. “Facilities need these computers so residents can video chat with their loved ones,” said Genova employee, Donna Sun.

Due to the outbreak, care facilities are no longer allowing visitors, leaving residents to rely on a limited supply of technology to communicate with the outside world.

Many local nursing homes only have one computer for residents to share, which limits the residents’ access to reaching their families. Additionally, few residents have cell phones to call families, making communal technology important.

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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Our most important Coronavirus coverage is free to the public.

If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please donate. Your contribution will support news resources to cover the impact of the pandemic on our local communities.

All donations are tax-deductible.