CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus in Iowa, live updates for March 27: Johnson County Board of Supervisors requests fewer businesses to reduce number of on-site employees

Deputy Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health Sarah Reisetter give an update on COVID-19 at the State Emergenc
Deputy Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health Sarah Reisetter give an update on COVID-19 at the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston on Thursday. (Zach Boyden-Holmes/Pool, The Register)

Johnson County Board requests fewer employees on-site

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors has asked businesses not affected by state closure declarations to consider reducing the number of on-site employees.

Effective Thursday, Gov. Kim Reynolds expanded the list of businesses that should close to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19. The new businesses included book stores, clothing and shoe stores, jewelry stores, luggage stores, beauty supply stores, florists and home furnishing stories. Businesses already closed were barbers, hair salons, tattoo studios, tanning salons, massage studios and swimming pools.

But Johnson County officials on Friday said businesses that don’t fall into these categories should consider having more employees work from home, staggering shifts and using videoconferencing for meetings. Additional recommendations included more frequent disinfection of office buildings and equipment and protocols for social distancing and handwashing.

Food delivery available in Johnson County

Food delivery is now available to anyone living in Johnson County who needs food but cannot access other resources due to COVID-19.

People can call (319) 519-6165 between 9:00 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays to request food delivery.

Agencies can also contact this line to set up a time to pick food up for their clients. Recipients will receive pre-packed bags of food based on what is available.

This service is a partnership between CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank, Coralville Community Food Pantry, IC Compassion, and North Liberty Community Pantry. Johnson County SEATS is providing delivery service to rural addresses.

Iowa City/Coralville transit updates

* Iowa City Transit: Running at Spring Break service levels indefinitely. The Downtown free shuttle, the AM & PM Eastside Loop will not operate for the time being. All other service will be provided per normal schedules and times, and service will continue to be free of charge.

* Coralville Transit (effective Monday):

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.

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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 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.

* Cambus: Suspending weekends service, increased service to parking lots 65 and 75, adjustments made to Hawkeye Parking Lot service.

North Liberty closing park play structures

To encourage social distancing and slow the spread of COVID-19, the City of North Liberty has closed its outdoor play structures, effective immediately.

While parks, trails and other outdoor public remain open, the public should continue to practice social distancing, not congregate and do the five to help stop coronavirus:

1. HANDS: Wash them often

2. ELBOW: Cough into it

3. FACE: Don’t touch it

4. SPACE: Keep safe distance

5. HOME: Stay if you can

Mayor Terry Donahue joined his colleagues in urging residents to stay home and limit themselves to only essential trips. Slowing the spread supports our front-line healthcare workers as they help manage this pandemic locally.

Second Whirlpool Amana employee tests positive for COVID-19

Whirlpool Corp. confirmed a second employee at its Amana refrigerator plant tested positive for COVID-19.

The company is “working closely with local health authorities to assess with whom the employee may have had close contact,” a Whirlpool spokesman said Friday.

Whirlpool completed a deep cleaning of the facility Thursday after temporarily closing it Tuesday evening, on account of a first employee’s positive COVID-19 test.

That patient had not been in Whirlpool’s facility since March 17, but reported close contact with one other employee, who also was sent home, the company said earlier this week.

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A limited number of employees are working in the Amana plant today, preparing to resume regular operations with the start of the third shift on Sunday, the spokesman said.

Whirlpool employs more than 2,500 people in the Corridor area, at facilities in Amana and North Liberty, according to the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance.

Iowa City animal shelter assisting pet owners facing financial hardship

The Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center, 3910 Napoleon Lane, is working to help pet owners who are experiencing financial hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing free pet food.

To do so, the shelter is accepting donations of food for dogs, cats and small animals.

To request food, pet owners can call the Animal Care and Adoption Center at (319) 356-5295. Staff is currently working with a limited crew and still provides care for the animals, so those interested may need to leave a message. Callers should leave their name, phone number, and the number and types of pets that need food. Staff will then contact the pet owners when the food is ready, and can be picked up near the front door of the shelter.

To donate food, please drop off items at the side door, facing mostly east, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Prescription pet food will also be gladly accepted.

Donations can also be made by contacting local pet store Leash on Life at (319) 354-4334 or info@leashonlife.net.

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Support our coverage

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.