COVID-19 in Iowa, live updates for March 12: Mission Creek Festival cancelled

Sen. Rob Hogg (D-Cedar Rapids) admonishes the Senate following a vote on a bill limiting public-sector unions at the Sta
Sen. Rob Hogg (D-Cedar Rapids) admonishes the Senate following a vote on a bill limiting public-sector unions at the State Capitol in Des Moines on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

6:58 p.m. Mission Creek Festival cancelled due to coronavirus concerns

From the Mission Creek Festival Facebook Page:

“With sadness and resolve, we must announce that Mission Creek Festival 2020 will not carry forward in its current form. As such, there will be no public events during the April 1-4 period.

We are working with festival artists and authors to set up a special Mission Creek event in the late-summer/early-fall.

We plan to have details early next week including:

1)The dates and lineup of the new event

2)A list of artists who will not be able to make the new event.”

5:49 p.m. Two more Iowans test positive for COVID-19

Two more Iowans are confirmed to have the 2019 novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, state officials announced Thursday evening. That brings the total number of positive cases in Iowa to 16,

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, the new presumptive positive cases include one resident of Johnson County and one resident of Carroll County. Both individuals, who are adults between the ages of 61-80, are recovering at home in isolation.

According to state public health officials, both cases are tied to the same Egyptian cruise as other positive cases. The trip was a sponsored group event through the Hills Bank Friends Club, the bank confirmed earlier this week.

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced she will hold a news conference from the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston on Friday afternoon.

2:50 p.m. RoughRiders season suspended

From a Cedar Rapids RoughRiders Facebook post:


“The USHL has made the decision to suspend the season. We are working with the league and our organization to find the best answers on this unexpected suspension of our season.”

2:20 p.m. Communion postponed at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church

There will be no communion during worship this Sunday at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. The next planned Sunday with communion is Palm Sunday, April 5th.

2:05 p.m. NCAA Division III wrestling championship closed to fans

From a news release:

Due to concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19, the NCAA has made the decision to limit spectators at this weekend’s NCAA Division III Championship to be held at the U.S. Cellular Center Friday March 13th and Saturday, March 14th.

Guests who have purchased tickets for the event are in the process of being notified and may request a refund at their point of purchase.

• Guests who purchased tickets online through, charge-by-phone or at the U.S. Cellular Center ticket office with credit card, will receive an automatic refund to the original card used for purchase.

• Guests who purchased tickets with cash at the U.S. Cellular Center ticket office may return their tickets for a refund during regular business hours.

The NCAA DIII Championship may be viewed online at


The event, scheduled for March 28 at The Graduate Hotel in Iowa City, has been canceled. Registration refunds will be issued within 7-10 days.

12:36 p.m. Cedar Rapids State Senator stays home, encourages Iowa Legislature to do the same

Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, is staying home this week out of an abundance of caution for the spread of COVID-19 across the country, and calls on the Iowa Legislature to do the same.

Hogg called on Senate and House leadership to convene a recess of the session for two to three weeks to mitigate the risk for an outbreak within the State Capitol. He pointed to federal officials’ recommendations that the public avoid large scale gathering, adding that sometimes thousands of individuals make their way through the State Capital building every day.

“I do not think we are taking this seriously enough,” Hogg said. “Part of the reason I’m home today is because I listen to what public health experts say. I’m not going to the capital to fuel the petri dish that the Capitol is. I’m going to be home and be responsible for myself, and I hope other legislatures, other legislative leaders and the governor takes this seriously too.”


However, legislative leaders have not indicated if they are considering a proposal to push back the legislative deadlines.

“We are continuing to monitor it daily if not more often,” said Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny. That includes “talking to the governor, talking to the (Iowa Department of Public Health) to make sure that we have the proper procedures in place.”

Hogg is not sick, nor does he believe he has come into contact with anyone who has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

He said he plans to stay home the rest of the week, and will “reassess” on Sunday to determine if he will return to the Capitol on Monday.

10:45 a.m. Honor Flight canceled

The Eastern Iowa Iowa Honor Flight announced on Facebook that the national Honor Flight Network has issued a mandatory cancellation of all Honor Flights through April 30.

That includes an Honor Flight scheduled for April 22, which will be rescheduled. An Honor Flight on May 19 still is on the schedule.

Honor Flights take veterans to visit memorials in Washington, D.C. Eastern Iowa Honor Flight serves veterans in Linn, Jones, Benton, southern Tama, Iowa, Johnson, Marshall, Jasper, Poweshiek and Washington counties. Since 2009, more than 1,500 veterans have traveled on an honor flight out of Cedar Rapids.

10:45 a.m. Thaler Holocaust Memorial Fund events canceled

The Thaler Holocaust Memorial Fund, which plans an annual Yom HaShoah interfaith Holocaust Remembrance Service each spring, has canceled upcoming events with Holocaust survivor Michael Bornstein and his daughter Debbie Holinstat. They had been scheduled to speak in Cedar Rapids and Mount Vernon at several appearances March 29 to April 1.

“We hope to reschedule their appearance at an appropriate time later this year or next year,” the organization posted on its website.

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