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COVID-19 live updates: Des Moines Mayor Cownie urges residents to remain 'diligent'; City of Ankeny extends closures, cancellations

The Iowa Department of Public Health said a total of 148 Iowans have died from the virus. A total of 6,843 have tested positive.

Local 5 continues to gather the latest on COVID-19 in Iowa. 

Meat processing plaints in Iowa will resume operations following a Tuesday executive order from President Trump.

"Such closures threaten the continued functioning of the national meat and poultry supply chain, undermining critical infrastructure during the national emergency, the order states."

Iowa is home to 18 packing plants, and a Tyson Foods plant in Waterloo has been closed since last week after dozens of workers tested positive for COVID-19.

As of Wednesday morning, 6,843 Iowans have tested positive for the coronavirus and 148 have died.

34,494 tests have returned negative.

Restaurants and businesses in 77 Iowa counties are also preparing to reopen with certain restrictions starting Friday.

Text FACTS to 515-457-1026 to get the latest coronavirus updates.

April 29, 2020

City of Ankeny extends closures and cancellations

The City of Ankeny is extending all closures and cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The extension is based on Gov. Reynolds' new proclamation from Monday.

The closures will remain in effect through May 15 and include public buildings and facilities, special events, parks and trails, and city operations. The full list can be found on the City's website.

Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie urges residents to remain diligent

Mayor Frank Cownie is urging all of Des Moines residents to remain diligent and observe proper safeguards. Polk County will remain under coronavirus restrictions until at least May 15.

“I want to reaffirm to Des Moines residents that we must be disciplined about social distancing and limited contact.  Staying home and staying healthy is the best way to protect our family, friends and coworkers,” Cownie said. “I want to commend residents for doing a great job so far – let’s remain diligent and safe in the weeks ahead.” 

Gov. Reynolds' administration gave the green light for farmers' markets to open under specific social distancing guidelines last week. Cownie said that giving Iowans access to fresh produce is a good idea, however "the farmers’ markets that we’ll see this spring and summer will be far different from the events we’ve all come to enjoy.”  

Cownie said city officials are set to meet this week with Downtown Farmers' Market organizers to work out the details. Once a safe process has been drafted, Cownie will issue a proclamation specifying the processes and requirements for a possible opening.

Des Moines International Airport receiving millions in COVID-19 grants

Rep. Cindy Axne announced Wednesday that Des Moines International Airport is one of several airports in Iowa receiving grant monies to help offset loses due to COVID-19. 

Her office said Des Moines International is receiving roughly $23 million dollars.

Tyson offering $120 million in bonuses to 116,000 workers 

Leaders from Tyson, whose facilities in Iowa have been at the center of COVID-19 outbreaks, announced Wednesday it's doubling bonuses to workers. 

The company said it's offering $120 million in what it calls "Thank You Bonuses" to 116,000 frontline employees and truckers in the U.S. 

In addition, the company is boosting short-term disability coverage to 90% of normal pay until June 30. 

More information about the company's latest moves is available here.

Reynolds, Reisetter respond to University of Iowa COVID-19 model

A model released by the University of Iowa says that extending existing mitigation efforts for another two weeks could prevent a second wave of infections. 

"So, that's a snapshot in time," Reynolds began. She said that she appreciates the effort the university put into it. However, Reynolds said that Iowans have already flattened the curve enough to reopen parts of the state.

"There's a wide range of outcomes and recommendations. And so we are able with the additional testing capacity, with the mitigation efforts that we put in place, and the way that Iowans responded, we were able to flatten the curve. We were able to mitigate the impact on our healthcare resources as well as not overwhelming our healthcare facilities," she said.

Sarah Reisetter with the IDPH said a "model is a model." 

"It's a forecast, it's an estimate of what we might see," Reisetter explained. 

"As the governor has started to open things up and a few counties, you'll notice that social distancing, and a lot of the guidance that we've already provided, they're part of that reopening," Reisetter said.

Guidance from the IDPH will be provided as the state continues to reopen.

'It's not a mandate, it's an option': Reynolds on going to church, farmers' markets this weekend

When asked if she would be attending an in-person church service or farmers' market this weekend, Gov. Kim Reynolds said that she doesn't know for sure yet.

"I don't know, but isn't it a wonderful thing? Isn't this great? Iowans are going to decide. Churches are going to decide. It's not a mandate, it's an option," she said. 

Reynolds said that her church services are still online, so that's "probably what we'll continue to do."

Reynolds then praised the Des Moines Downtown Farmers' Market for moving their events online for the first few weeks of the season.

"We can do this, we just have to do it together," Reynolds said.

WATCH: Full press conference from Gov. Kim Reynolds for April 29, 2020

National Guard gives update on their role during COVID-19 pandemic

To date, there are 880 soldiers and airmen on duty "supporting a variety of missions" across the state. That's according to Maj. Gen. Ben Corell, Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard.

These missions include personal protective equipment distribution, administrative and technical support for Test Iowa sites, transporting test kits and samples, and supporting Regional Medical Coordination Centers across the state.

Corell said two new missions will become operational this week. 150 soldiers and airmen will be provided to the IDPH with call centers for COVID-19 mapping across the state. They will be sent to Sioux City, Cedar Rapids and Camp Dodge.

The other mission will provide manpower and distribution support to regional food banks across the state to ensure all Iowans have access to food. 25 National Guard members will be sent to help unload trucks, sort food into carts and assist with boxing, sorting and distribution of food.

"We are Iowans helping Iowans, neighbors helping neighbors. We are your National Guard, we're honored to support the people of Iowa during this challenging time," Corell said.

229,000 Iowans participate in TestIowa assessment

Gov. Reynolds said 229,000 Iowans participated in the Test Iowa assessment just a week after Test Iowa launched in the state. 

"I'm so proud to say that Iowans have responded to our call of action," she said during her press conference.

A total of 442,000 Iowans have visited the website, according to Reynolds. The top five counties with the most completed assessments are Polk, Linn, Black Hawk, Johnson and Dallas Counties.

12 more Iowans die from complications, 467 test positive

New data from the Iowa Department of Public Health shows another 12 Iowans died from COVID-19 complications. The death toll is now 146 in the state.

According to the IDPH, the additional deaths were reported in the following counties:

  • Black Hawk County, 1 elderly adult (81+)
  • Dubuque County, 1 older adult (61-80)
  • Jasper County, 1 elderly adult (81+)
  • Linn County, 1 middle age adult (41-60), 2 older adults (61-80), 1 elderly adult (81+)
  • Marshall County, 1 elderly adult (81+)
  • Muscatine County, 1 elderly adult (81+)
  • Polk County, 1 elderly adult (81+)
  • Pottawattamie County, 1 adult (18-40)
  • Washington County, 1 elderly adult (81+)

An additional 467 Iowans tested positive for the virus, bringing the total to 6,843. 

34,494 tests have returned negative.

323 Iowans are currently hospitalized. 2,428 have recovered, leaving the recovery rate at 35%.

One in every six Iowans have been tested, according to Gov. Reynolds.

Flexsteel says it will close Dubuque manufacturing plant

Iowa-based furniture maker Flexsteel Industries has announced it will permanently close its Dubuque manufacturing facility. 

The Telegraph Herald reports that the company announced the closure Wednesday morning, minutes before a conference call to discuss its latest quarterly earnings. The Dubuque plant employs about 150 people. 

The company announced its facility in Starkville, Mississippi, also will close, and blamed a drop in demand of some products that has been exacerbated by the new coronavirus pandemic. 

The closure follows the company's two-week shutdown of the Dubuque plant last month and its announcement that it would lay off about 100 in Dubuque, including about 40 people at its corporate headquarters. 

Reporting by Associated Press, The Telegraph Herald

MercyOne, Corteva Agriscience team up to increase COVID-19 sample testing

MercyOne and Corteva Agriscience are teaming up to "fill the urgent need" for the processing of COVID-19 samples. A release from the establishments said they will focus on Iowa initially.

The plan is for MercyOne health care providers will collect the samples and send them to Corteva, where a small team of Corteva employees will process and assess the samples using the company's "sophisticated genetic screening capabilities."

This testing will start Wednesday, April 29 and will continue "for as long as the need remains critical." As of now, there aren't any plans to collect samples at Corteva facilities.

Hy-Vee extending hours for central Iowa locations

Des Moines area Hy-Vee locations have extended their hours to be open 7 a.m. - 10 p.m., a company spokesperson tells Local 5.

This includes Hy-Vee Drugstores and locations in suburbs of Des Moines.

The first hour is still reserved for customers at a higher risk of contracting the virus. 

Convenience store hours remain as previously set.

Food pantry opens to help veterans

The Food Bank of Iowa is hosting a mobile drive-thru food pantry for veterans.

It will be located at 2350 Euclid Ave in Des Moines and be open from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday.

Veterans are asked to bring their VA ID card of DD-214.

"We're all in this together. This is a situation that we didn't see coming," said Tami Nielsen with the Food Bank of Iowa. "Where it's something that is nationwide and globally. So our goal is a hunger free Iowa and boy, that's harder now than it's ever been."

RELATED: Food Bank of Iowa receives major donation to keep helping during COVID-19

RELATED: Pastors across Iowa consider how to safely open churches

RELATED: COVID-19 live updates: Researchers warned Gov. Reynolds to not relax limits; Iowa Catholic churches continue suspension of mass

WATCH: Complete coronavirus coverage from Local 5 on YouTube