CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus in Iowa, live updates for March 26: Iowa County has first confirmed COVID-10 case

4:45 P.M., IOWA COUNTY HAS its FIRST CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASE

A case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed in Iowa County. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, the individual is self-isolating at home.

“While this is Iowa County’s first case, it may not be the last, and that’s why we encourage all residents to continue to make prevention a priority,” said Iowa County Public Health Director Trista Schaffner, RN.

4:40 P.M. WAIVER GRANTED TO HELP GET MEALS TO STUDENTS

From: Gazette Des Moines Bureau

DES MOINES — Iowa Department of Education officials were granted a federal waiver Thursday that provides flexibility for schools and organizations distributing meals through the summer food service program during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Officials in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) say the waiver was granted In an effort to ease the burden on Iowa families and get food out to the students who need it at this critical time.

Effective immediately, children do not have to be present when caregivers pick up meals at Iowa’s 303 approved Grab & Go meal sites, state officials said.

“First and foremost, we want to ensure the health and safety of Iowa’s students,” said Ann Lebo, director of the Iowa Department of Education.

“We want to get healthy meals into the hands of students while minimizing the potential exposure to COVID-19,” Lebo added. “We understand that it isn’t practical for all children to accompany their parents and caregivers at meal sites.”

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Under the new USDA guidance, children do not need to be present at the meal sites. Parents and caregivers will be asked to share the school name where each child attends, if they are of school age.

Officials say the USDA’s summer food service program, administered by Iowa officials, was made available during this national health crisis. The program aims to remedy childhood food insecurity by providing nutritious meals and snacks to children age 18 and under in low-income areas during school closures due to COVID-19.

3:10 P.M. CORALVILLE TRANSIT ADJUSTS SCHEDULES EFFECTIVE MONDAY

Coralville Transit has announced the following changes in bus schedules effective Monday:

Lantern Park and 10th Street routes will operate once an hour during peak hours.

The 10th Street route will depart from the downtown Iowa City interchange on the hour beginning at 7 a.m. with the last bus departing at 5 p.m.

The Lantern Park route will depart from the downtown Iowa City interchange on the half hour beginning at 6:30 a.m. with the last bus departing at 5:30 p.m.

The last night bus will depart from the downtown Iowa City interchange at 9:10 p.m. with service ending at 10 p.m.

The North Liberty route will not be operating until further notice.

The AM Express, Express, and First Avenue schedules will not change.

Beginning Saturday, April 4, the last Saturday bus will depart from the downtown Iowa City interchange at 5:15 p.m. with service ending at 6 p.m.

Coralville Transit is not collecting fares, and riders should board and exit the bus using the rear doors when possible.

The front door remains available for riders with mobility concerns to board and exit. If you are a rider who needs assistance, including the ramp to board, knock on the front door or indicate to the driver that assistance is needed.

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All riders should practice social distancing at bus stops and on, boarding, and exiting the bus whenever possible. That means keeping at least six feet between yourself and others.

For more information, visit www.coralville.org/transit or call 319.248.1790.

2:50 P.M. LEGION ARTS SEEKS ARTISTS’ INFORMATION

Cedar Rapids nonprofit Legion Arts, which has its public events at CSPS Hall suspended until at least April 22, is urging people to fill out an Artist Support Roll Call, to gather information on how artists’ work can be supported by the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CSPS has served the Cedar Rapids community as a supporter, advocate and presenter of the arts, music and theater of our time. It is asking the public to consider tax-deductible donations to CSPS.

2:30 P.M. COMMUNITY RESOURCE Q&A: 211 AND UNITED WAY IN IOWA

Click here to watch and listen as Gazette columnist Adam Sullivan talks about the 211 hotline with Kristin Roberts, president and CEO of United Way of East Central Iowa. Roberts explains what 211 is and how it’s being used during the coronavirus pandemic.

Find the latest nonprofit resources along with local volunteer needs during of COVID-19 outbreak at uweic.org.

2 P.M. IOWA PROVIDES STATE HYGIENIC LAB WITH $900,000

By Vanessa Miller, The Gazette

IOWA CITY — Iowa has provided its State Hygienic Lab with $900,000 to increase testing capacity and capabilities for COVID-19 — which on Thursday had been confirmed in 179 people, one of whom died.

Nearly 3,000 in Iowa had tested negative for the novel coronavirus as of Thursday, although many who are experiencing flu-like symptoms want the test — which has been in short supply both locally and nationally.

The $900,000 boost for testing at the University of Iowa-based State Hygienic Lab came via $525,000 supplemental state appropriation approved by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds and $375,000 through a contract amendment with the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The state lab, to manage a “dramatic surge” in demand for testing under the Department of Public Health’s criteria, has implemented extended shifts and is operating seven days a week, according to a UI campus message.

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“The university thanks the laboratory staff members for their tireless efforts to protect the health of all Iowans and is committed to ensuring staff have the resources necessary to continue this critical work,” according to the campus message.

Earlier this week, UI Health Care — which, with its hospitals and clinics, operates the largest health care enterprise in the state — announced it will start conducting its own COVID-19 testing Friday. That in-house testing will give it more flexibility in who gets tested.

Current state testing criteria requires patients to fall into one of the following categories:

Hospitalized with fever and respiratory failure and no alternate diagnosis;

Over 60 years old, with fever and respiratory symptoms — like cough and difficulty breathing — and chronic medical conditions, like diabetes, heart disease, immunosuppressive medications, chronic lung disease, or chronic kidney disease;

Have fever or respiratory illness and live in a congregate setting, like a long-term care facility, dormitory, residential facility, correctional facility, or treatment facility;

Or serve as an essential services worker — like in health care, law enforcement, fire and emergency medicine, or residential care — and have fever or respiratory illness.

12:30 P.M. TABLE TO TABLE SEEKS DONATIONS, VOLUNTEERS

Table to Table (T2T), a volunteer-based Iowa City organization that rescues and delivers half the food distributed to hungry people in Johnson County, requests financial donations and seeks temporary volunteers not in high-risk groups for Covid-19 to continue their local food rescue operations.

T2T has temporarily paused operations for the first time in 24 years to restructure and respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. T2T must adjust to account for a temporary critical reduction in volunteers that transport the food to agencies throughout Johnson County that feed the hungry. T2T planned to reinitiate its food rescue operations on Thursday.

T2T needs community support to bring operations back up to full capacity. Financial donations are critical at this time, as T2T will likely need to hire a temporary staff driver to make up for the significant volunteer force deficit. To donate, visit www.table2table.org/donateonline.

Community members who do not fall into high-risk groups for Covid-19, have not traveled recently or come into contact with individuals infected with the virus, and who are feeling well and Covid-19 symptom-free are encouraged to lend a hand with food rescue route volunteering. To volunteer, contact T2T at volunteer@table2table.org or call (319) 337-3400.

12:30 P.M. WOMEN LEAD CHANGE CONFERENCE RESCHEDULED

Women Lead Change’s 2020 Quad Cities conference originally scheduled for May 7 at the TaxSlayer Center in Moline, Ill., has been rescheduled to Nov. 10.

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Registrations for all attendees will be automatically switched to this new date. The lineup of speakers will still include Carla Harris, Michelle Poler, Lauri Freking, Sarah Stevens and Dr. Steve Robbins.

11:50 a.m. LINN COUNTY CONSERVATION CLOSING PLAYGROUNDS

Linn County Conservation is temporarily closing its playgrounds and nature playscape. These include the playgrounds located at Buffalo Creek Park, Morgan Creek Park, Pinicon Ridge Park, and Squaw Creek Park. The Wickiup Wandering Woods nature playscape at the Wickiup Hill Learning Center is also closed.

Other outdoor park areas remain open at this time. Parks, trails, natural areas and preserves managed by Linn County Conservation are found at LinnCountyParks.com

11:45 A.M. RELIEF PROGRAMS FOR IOWA DENTISTS ANNOUNCED

Delta Dental of Iowa and the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation have announced two relief programs to offer Iowa dentists and nonprofits assistance due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Advance Claims Payment Program will provide financial assistance for Iowa dentists who have been affected by COVID-19 disruptions and address their immediate cash flow needs. $10 million has been allocated for Iowa dentists through this program, which will provide dentists with 50 percent of their average claims payment for four weeks.

Also, the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation has committed $500,000 for the COVID-19 Nonprofit Emergency Operating Relief Fund, which will provide operating grants up to $10,000 to Iowa nonprofit organizations focused on providing health and wellness services or addressing food insecurity needs during this crisis.

“We want to ensure our dental and nonprofit partners can continue to provide essential health services during this time and into the future. We are all in this together,” said Jeff Russell, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Iowa and president of the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation.

Dentists can request funds through April 17 by contacting Delta Dental’s professional relations team at provrelations@deltadentalia.com.

The Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation’s new COVID-19 Nonprofit Emergency Operating Relief Grants will be for nonprofits focused on health and wellness services as well as addressing food insecurity needs. These funds can be used to cover fixed operational expenses such as: salaries for medical providers, volunteer coordinators, medical workforce (e.g., lab technicians, CNAs), rent, utilities, internet, insurance, phone, medical supplies, etc. Nonprofits wanting more information on these grants should go to www.deltadentalia.com/foundation.

11 A.M. MARION ALLOWING EXTRA BAG OF GARBAGE AT CURB FOR NEXT TWO WEEKS

Starting Monday, Marion residents will be able to place an extra bag or container of garbage at the curb for the next two weeks.

An extra bag tag will not be required. All bags/containers must weigh less than 40 pounds.

Curbside recycling is being collected as normal. Curbside yard waste collection is expected to resume on April 6. The Yard Waste Drop-off Facility remains open weekdays from 7 a.m.-3:15 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m.-4:15 p.m.

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The Public Services Department has suspended bulk item collection.

9:35 A.M. IOWA CITY AIRS “COMMUNITY CONNECTION” TONIGHT ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER

From Coralville Courier:

Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague will host regular conversations with city and community leaders on the city’s Facebook page on Tuesday and Thursday nights at 7 p.m.

They’re entitled “Community Connection,” highlighting community response efforts to the COVID-19 outbreak.

They also will be shared on the city’s Twitter and Nextdoor accounts, and will be aired on City Channel 4.

Tonight’s episode will feature Iowa City Community School District Superintendent Stephen Murley.

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.