COVID-19 in Iowa, live updates for March 18: RUN CRANDIC called off, to be replaced with virtual event

Informational pamphlets are seen at the Iowa Department of Transportation Driver's License Station in Cedar Rapids on Tu
Informational pamphlets are seen at the Iowa Department of Transportation Driver’s License Station in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

6:18 p.m. Iowa’s confirmed COVID-19 count now at 38

Iowa’s number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is now up to 38.

Officials with the Iowa Department of Public Health were notified Wednesday of nine additional positive cases of Iowans with COVID-19 on top of the 29 previously confirmed. According to IDPH of these additional nine, three individuals are residents of Johnson County; two are residents of Polk County; two are residents of Dallas County; one is a resident of Washington County; and one is a resident of Winneshiek County.

6:14 p.m. RUN CRANDIC canceled, being replaced by ‘virtual event’

From RUN CRANDIC (see more details here):

“Here we are. The RUN CRANDIC Executive Committee waited as long as we thought possible to make a

decision about the status of RUN CRANDIC in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic. Our hope was that we

would be able to wait a few weeks and that time would pass and allow us to continue as planned, because

that is what we all wanted. Many volunteers and members of the community have put in countless hours

working to bring this event to the running community.

With the new CDC guidelines, restrictions on businesses being open and school closures, we have to

acknowledge that we are living in a unique and unprecedented time and need to do our part to help

mitigate the spread of COVID 19 by not holding RUN CRANDIC on April 26, as planned. Sometime between April 26th 12:00 AM and May 9th at 11:59 pm run your registered distance and send us your data using the online Google document, which we will provide a link via email on April 25, to record your information. We will mail you your shirt, medal and a certificate of completion for your race. Please be patient with us as we navigate the logistics of sending hundreds of packages. You can divide your race into two parts to earn your finish. We are providing this option to help accommodate all of the changes to your schedule with school and work changing for many people.”

5:21 p.m. City of Cedar Rapids March 24 City Council Meeting Canceled

From the City of Cedar Rapids: “The upcoming City of Cedar Rapids City Council meeting scheduled for March 24 has been canceled. Agenda items for the meeting will be postponed to a future date.”

4:50 p.m. City of Iowa City declares Civil Emergency due to COVID-19

From the City of Iowa City:

“Mayor Bruce Teague declared a Civil Emergency in Iowa City due to the dangers presented by COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus.

The declaration gives Mayor Teague additional measures to maintain health, welfare, and safety within the community.


One measure enacted gives the Iowa City Police Department the ability to, by criminal citation or arrest, enforce Governor Kim Reynold’s State of Emergency orders, which includes:

The closing of bars and restaurants, besides delivery or to-go services

The closing of theaters and other event spaces

The banning of all social, community, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings of more than 10 people.”

4:45 p.m. JCPenney closing until April 2

From a news release:

PLANO, Texas (March 18, 2020) – J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE: JCP) today announced that in response to the evolving global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it will temporarily close its stores and business offices, starting today at 7 p.m. local time. The stores and business offices are scheduled to reopen April 2.

“With the effects of the outbreak being felt more each day, our primary concern and area of focus is and has been on the health and safety of our associates, our customers, and our communities,” said Jill Soltau, chief executive officer of JCPenney. “We know this is a critical, unprecedented time and our thoughts are with those who have been impacted.” ...

Customers can continue to shop online at the Company’s flagship store,, or through its app and enjoy Free Shipping on orders $49 or more.


Hy-Vee will reserve one hour of shopping time before it opens each day for customers considered “high-risk” for COVID-19, the company announced Wednesday, in responding to customer requests.

The grocer has asked customers to respect the time from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., seven days a week, just for those ages 60 and older, expectant mothers and customers with one or more underlying health conditions that make them more vulnerable to serious illness.

“We are extremely concerned about the spread of this virus, and want to respond to our customers who are at higher risk of serious illness by offering them a time where they may feel a bit safer shopping in our stores,” said Randy Edeker, Hy-Vee’s chairman, CEO and president, in a release.

Hy-Vee will reserve the same one-hour window for “high-risk” customers at its pharmacies inside grocery stores, Mainstreet locations, Dollar Fresh stores and Hy-Vee Drugstores.

The company asks other customers to limit their shopping to its new store hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.


“We know that our customers are facing some very challenging times right now, and we want to do all we can to help them,” Edeker said. “We hope this new reserved shopping hour helps our customers feel a bit more secure while we work together as a community to help keep everyone healthy and safe.”


GreenState Credit Union will close their branch lobbies beginning Monday, GreenState president and CEO Jeff Disterhoft announced Wednesday.

During the closure, drive-throughs will remain open and the lobby will be accessed by appointment only, Disterhoft said in a press release. Many of the credit union’s services are available through their mobile app and online banking.

GreenState’s full-service call center and online chat will also remain available during business hours, Disterhoft said.

10:05 a.m. DOT issues driver’s services advisory

AMES — Officials with the Iowa Department of Transportation are alerting drivers to changes they have instituted to combat the COVID-19 outbreak and to comply with Gov. Kim Reynolds’ decision Tuesday to declare a public health disaster emergency.

First, for driver’s license holders, if you have a driver’s license that has an expiration date of Jan. 16, 2020, or later, you do not have to renew your license at this time. It will remain valid for driving purposes until the declared disaster has ended.

For vehicle titles, registration and license plates, if your vehicle registration expired Jan. 17, 2020, or later, it will be considered valid until the declared disaster has ended.

If you are purchasing or transferring a vehicle, you will not be required to obtain a title and registration within 30 days, according to DOT officials. This will remain in effect until the declared disaster is over.

If you purchase a vehicle from a dealer, you will not be required to obtain license plates within 45 days. This will remain in effect until the declared disaster is over.

For overweight loads for motor carriers — on non‐interstate roads only, trucks hauling food, medical supplies, cleaning products, or other household goods may exceed state law weight standards by 12.5 percent without a permit, so long as the vehicles don’t exceed 20,000 pounds on an individual axle, and their total weight does not exceed 90,000 pounds. Trucks are still required to obey posted bridge restrictions.


For Iowa’s seeking to use driver’s service centers, DOT officials advise that if you decide you must come into an Iowa DOT-operated service center please be aware:

*Driver’s license and ID business is being conducted by appointment — a move that is being made to limit the number of people waiting in a location at a time. Customers should make appointments online or by calling 515-244-8725.

*All non-commercial drive tests will be discontinued and rescheduled to a future date.

*All customers entering a DOT service center will be asked a series of questions to evaluate their risk of exposure to COVID-19 and exposure to others being served. If it is determined that there may be a heightened risk for the customer to be served, they will be asked to delay services to a later date.

Staff will be monitoring the number of customers waiting for services inside the facility to encourage social distancing guidance provided by federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Customers may be asked to wait in their vehicles or come back at another time if service areas become crowded.

DOT officials say their employees are regularly cleaning high-touch areas with disinfectants to reduce the chance of contamination.

— From Rod Boshart

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