Coronavirus in Iowa, live updates for March 24: Reynolds urges Iowans to stay away from social media rumors

Recent renovations to Lindale Mall included a new entrance, restaurants and shops. Photographed in Cedar Rapids on Monda
Recent renovations to Lindale Mall included a new entrance, restaurants and shops. Photographed in Cedar Rapids on Monday, June 24, 2019. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

4:30 p.m. Reynolds tells Iowans to steer clear of social media rumors

Gov. Kim Reynolds urged Iowans during Tuesday’s news conference in Johnston not to fall prey to rumors and speculation they encounter via social media, saying relying on unreliable or questionable sources of information is “not helpful at a time like this.”

“Know the facts,” the governor said, in attempting to steer Iowans to the “one-stop shop” website of or or their preferred credible and reliable news sources for information as the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold.

“And then there’s social media,” Reynolds told her news conference, “which can be both a blessing and a curse during these challenging times. Be intentional about how you are using social media. If you are looking for news and information, follow credible sources, don’t just rely on what pops up in your news feed.”

The governor said social media is a great way to stay connected with friends and family, especially while Iowans are observing social distancing guidelines and spending more time at home.

“But it’s also ripe for misinformation, false narratives and harmful rumors,” she said. “Rumors and speculation are not helpful at a time like this and don’t be a part of it. It only adds to the anxiety that so many people are already experiencing.”

linn county league of women voter forum canceled

The League of Women Voters Linn County has canceled its Legislative Forum scheduled for March 28 at the Kirkwood Community College Regional Center in Hiawatha.

Forum speakers were to be state Senators Rob Hogg, Liz Mathis, Todd Taylor and Dan Zumbach, and Representatives Liz Bennett, Molly Donahue, Tracy Ehlert, Ashley Hinson, Kirsten Running-Marquardt, Art Staed, and Louis Zumbach.

The League of Women Voters Linn County is a non-profit volunteer political organization that neither supports or opposes any candidate or political party, encourages citizen participation in government and is open to anyone 16 years and older.

4:15 P.M. olivet mission food pantry available

The Olivet Neighborhood Mission Food Pantry and Kitchen Pantry remains open for those income-eligible people in need of fresh produce, breads and other perishables to supplement and extend their food household budgets.


The Pantry is located at 230 10th Street NW and serves on average 3,500 unduplicated people per month, according to a press release. Current hours are 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

The Mission’s Clothing Closet is temporarily closed in order to better serve the Food Pantry and Kitchen Pantry. You can donate to the mission at

2:21 p.m. solid waste agency locations closed to residential customers

The Solid Waste Agency said Tuesday that garbage is being accepted from commercial account holders only at this time. That includes the cities of Cedar Rapids and Marion and private haulers that serve other Linn County communities with curbside service.

Both Agency locations (1954 County Home Road in Marion and 2250 A Street SW in Cedar Rapids) are closed to residential customers and those without a commercial account. This is being done to limit interactions between staff and customers.

Recycling also is not being accepted for drop off at this time.

1:15 P.M. houby day festival canceled

Organizers have announced the cancellation of the 43rd-Annual Houby Day Festival, scheduled for May in southwest Cedar Rapids.

“We are following the recommendations set in place by the World Health Organization,” said a statement from Czech Village Association President Mike Flack and Vice President Kymm Loeffler. “We hope to be able to plan some other fun events, for later on this year. Please stay safe and healthy. Remember, it takes a “Village” to make things happen. We appreciate your support at this time.”

12:45 p.m. updated covid-19 hospitalization numbers

Numbers provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health showed 18 of the 90 patients who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus through Sunday were being hospitalized around the state.

The IDPH numbers indicated 63 people were never hospitalized and 9 were listed as “discharged and recovering.”

For a look at all numbers provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health (age ranges of affected, location of those affected), click here:


Marion Mayor Nicolas AbouAssaly has declared a local state of emergency for the city.

The declaration authorizes deployment of all available municipal resources and participation in the Linn County Comprehensive Emergency Plan, increases the City Manager’s emergency spending authority and positions Marion for reiumbursement of disaster response expenses.


“While this is not a time to panic, it is a serious matter,” AbouAssaly said in a press release. “With this proclamation, we are taking additional steps to protect the health and safety of Marion residents. I am confident, that by all of us doing our part and working together, we will emerge as an even stronger community.”

11:53 A.M. 1,000 FREE BOXED LUNCHES available for truck drivers

From a Facebook post from the Iowa Motor Truck Association

Free boxed lunches are being distributed for semi-truck drivers today and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Jasper County Scale on Interstate 80. There will be 1,000 available lunches.

The Scales will not be open for enforcement.


The Iowa Department of Public Health has been notified of 19 additional positive cases of COVID-19 in the state, for a total of 124. There have been 2,315 negative tests reported by the State Hygienic Lab and other labs.

The locations and age ranges of the 19:

• Black Hawk, 1 middle-aged adult (41-60 years)

• Buchanan County, 1 middle-aged adult (41-60 years)

• Cedar County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)

• Dallas County, 1 middle-aged adult (41-60 years)

• Jasper County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)

• Johnson County, 1 middle-aged adult, 1 older adult

• Muscatine County, 2 older adults (61-80)

• Polk County, 3 adults, 1 middle-aged adult (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)

• Poweshiek County 1 older adult (61-80 years)

• Story County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)

• Tama County, 1 middle-aged adult (41-60 years)

• Warren County, 1 adult (18-40 years)

• Washington County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)

A map of all positive cases in the state can be accessed here:


Tanager Place has announced it is expanding services to better serve community needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 140-year-old children’s mental health care nonprofit is accepting new clients of all ages, as well as offering individual, family and group therapy and mental health assessments via teletherapy.

“We know people of all ages are feeling the pressure of this new environment, and that our organization has the ability to step up and help,” said Tonya Hotchkin, vice president of clinical services.

Community members can access Tanager Place services via phone (319) 286-4545 or e-mail (


The Johnson County Treasurer’s Office sent out a press release reminding county property owners that the second installment of property and mobile home taxes are due April 16. This is an extension from March 1, via a recent governor’s COVID-19 disaster declaration.

To avoid late fees, property owner payments must be delivered through a mail slot on the door of the Johnson County Adminstration Building, paid online at or via mail to the Johnson County Treasurer, PO Box 2420, Iowa City, Iowa, 52244-2420, with a postmark no later than April 16.


For questions, call the Johnson County Treasurer’s Office at 319-356-6087.

10:50 a.m. Absentee voting period for June primary extended

From a Facebook post by Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate yesterday:

“This afternoon I issued a directive to extend the absentee voting period for mailed ballots in the June primary to 40 days. This will help Iowans #BeAVoter while we deal with the #COVIDー19 pandemic. Iowans can vote by mail beginning April 23.”

9:34 a.m. updated map of childcare availability

The Iowa Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) has worked with the Department of Human Services to create a real time map of available childcare throughout the state for essential workers.

The map can be accessed here:

8:54 a.m. Fixed-based operators at airports advised to apply for state aid

Officials with the state Department of Transportation are advising fixed-base operators (FBOs) at Iowa airports to apply for state assistance available to deal with the negative ecomomic impacts of the COVID-19 epidemic.

A fixed-based operator is an organization granted the right to operate at an airport and provide aeronautical services such as fueling, parking, hangar access, aircraft rental, aircraft maintenance and flight instruction.

Tim McClung of the Iowa DOT avaiation bureau said small aviation-related businesses, such as FBOs, should consider the small business relief program announced Monday by Govenor Kim Reynolds that will provide financial assistance and 8:54 a.m. Fixed-based operators at airports advised to apply for state aid

7:02 a.m. Lindale Mall closed until further notice

From a Facebook post last night:

“The safety of our guests, retailers and employees is our top priority. We’ll be temporarily closed until further notice and will post updates to our social media pages and stories. Please follow along for more information. Lindale Mall brings people together, and we will continue to do so once we are past this current situation.”

Coral Ridge Mall in Coralville remains open on limited hours, according to its website: noon to 7 p.m. each day but Sunday (noon to 6 p.m.)

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