CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus in Iowa, live updates for April 17: Reynolds announces schools will remain closed for remainder of school year, spring sports also canceled; HACAP moves mobile food pantry to Westdale

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds updates the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak during a news conference at the State Em
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds updates the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak during a news conference at the State Emergency Operations Center, Thursday, April 16, 2020, in Johnston, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, pool)

 

5:10 P.M.: IHSADA TRIBUTES STUDENTS AND COMMUNITIES

The Iowa High School Athletic Directors Association invites communities to turn on stadium lights Friday as a tribute to local students. Schools across the state are asked to participate, beginning at 8 p.m. The gesture will last for 20 minutes, which equals one minute for each day missed.

The IHSADA encourages people to take pictures of the illuminated stadiums and submit them via Twitter @IOWAHSADA with the hashtag #lightupIA.

2:21 P.M.: CEDAR RAPIDS SCHOOLS LOOK FOR ALTERNATIVE TO IN-PERSON CEREMONIES

Cedar Rapids Community School District will not be able to hold in-person graduation ceremonies for current seniors as a result of Friday’s announcement that schools will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-20 academic year.

CRCSD is actively designing a creative and inventive approaches to “ceremoniously” honor members of the Class of 2020.

“This is not only about a senior year,” CRCSD Superintendent Noreen Bush said. “It is about an entire Pk-12 experience being celebrated and their journey from youth to young adulthood, the friendships they’ve developed, the educators who have influenced them, and the anticipation of a vibrant future ahead for each and every one of our graduates.”

1:51 P.M.: UNITYPOINT HEALTH EXPANDS VIRTUAL CARE ACCESS

UnityPoint Health announced Friday that patients can meet virtually with their providers for regularly scheduled appointments. The Virtual Urgent Care service will be available for no additional cost through April 30.

“We are very pleased to share this news with our patients and the communities we serve,” UnityPoint Clinic Chief Operating Officer Matt Romanin said in a news release. “Our teams have been working around the clock to bring these services to our patients. We know these are trying times for everyone, and we’re doing everything we can to help ensure our patients continue receiving the care they need, no matter where they are.”

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Virtual Scheduled Care is conducted via live video conversation. Patients can use smartphones, tablets or computers for the online option, providing patient care without travel and in-person interaction.

Virtual Scheduled Care is an option for patients with follow-up checks on chronic conditions like COPD, congestive heart failure, anxiety and depression and medication checks. The service is not recommended for those with COVID-19 concerns. Those individuals should visit UnityPoint’s website or their health care provide for where to go with coronavirus concerns.

UnityPoint Health is currently implementing the service throughout its nine regions. Patients can call their local clinic and request a virtual appointment.

Virtual Urgent Care is also available for no cost throughout April 30. Patients can use it for issues like sinus infections, rashes, urinary tract infections, allergies and other illnesses.

For more information, and to access UnityPoint Health’s Virtual Urgent Care, patients can visit www.unitypoint.org/clinics/virtual-care.

 

11:50 A.M.: MARION CLOSES LEGION PARK DISC GOLF COURSE

Marion announced it has closed the disc golf course at Thomas/Legion Park, beginning Friday. The move was based on the recent order by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. This is a continued effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 that included previous closures of skatepark, playgrounds, fitness trail equipment, ball diamonds, tennis and basketball courts.

Marion’s parks and trails remain available for use. According to recent order, groups are limited to people who live within the same household and requires people to practice social distancing by remaining six feet from anyone outside of their own household.

Previously scheduled recreation programs occurring during the month of April have been canceled. Find the full list of impacted programs at www.cityofmarion.org.

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11:38 A.M.: SCHOOLS TO REMAIN CLOSED FOR REMAINDER OF 2019-20 YEAR

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Friday that schools will remained closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year, during her daily news conference. She also announced that spring sports for high schools will be canceled. They were tentatively planning a May start with a shortened season. Summer sports are still to be determined.

Four more deaths due to COVID-19 were reported, increasing the statewide total to 64.

 

10:25 a.m.: HACAP MOVES MOBILE FOOD PANTRY TO WESTDALE

The LADD Library Mobile Food Pantry has been moved to the upper parking lot outside of J.C. Penney at Westdale in SW Cedar Rapids, starting at 1 p.m. Friday.

Pre-boxed meals will be distributed instead of allowing clients to shop from tables. All items will be distributed directly from a truck to limit contact with clients, attempting to protect the health of all those involved.

Clients are asked to remain in vehicles and use a drive-thru method for pickup. If clients do not have a car, they are asked to form a line and wait to be called one at a time.

More information can be found at the HACAP website.

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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.