With certain business in 77 of Iowa's 99 counties allowed to reopen starting Friday, Local 5 is tracking down the latest COVID-19 developments from across the state.
As of Friday morning, 7,884 Iowans have tested positive for the coronvirus and 170 have died.
37,709 tests have returned negative.
While some areas can reopen, Gov. Kim Reynolds reiterated Friday that it is not a requirement.
"Businesses are making the decisions based on what they feel they are ready to do," Gov. Kim Reynolds said at her Friday press conference. "We're not seeing everybody open back up. We're seeing variations in that as well, just as we are seeing with some of our church families too."
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May 1, 2020
Des Moines Police Department employee tests positive for COVID-19
The Des Moines Police Department was notified Friday of a confirmed cast of COVID-19 within their ranks.
The employee is an officer assigned to the Patrol Division. The officer began showing symptoms of the virus earlier this week, and has not worked since they started.
The DMPD says they are currently being quarantined in accordance with guidelines from the CDC and the Iowa Department of Public Health.
8 cases of COVID-19 among Polk County inmates reported
The amount of cases in the Polk County Jail's inmate population has increased to eight, the Polk County Sheriff's Office announced Friday.
The Sheriff's office was first notified of a positive case within the jail on April 21. After that, the Polk County Jail stepped up their aggressive cleaning and sanitation procedures and increased distancing among the inmates and staff.
On April 24, just three days later, the total was up to 7. As of Friday, May 1, the total sits at eight confirmed cases.
Des Moines Public Schools releases plans on celebrating Class of 2020
The celebration will go on for graduates of Des Moines Public Schools, albeit in a modified way.
The district announced Friday that commencements will be held virtually.
“While all of us at Des Moines Public Schools miss our students, we feel especially bad for our seniors having to endure the most unusual ending to a school year any of us have ever experienced,” Superintendent Tom Ahart said in a statement. “While we cannot hold a traditional commencement this year, we want to celebrate our graduates as best we can under the circumstances. We want each member of the Class of 2020 to know that we care for them, that we are going to miss them, and that we respect what they have accomplished.”
Virtual commencement ceremonies will be presented starting Saturday, June 27 and be shown on DMPS -TV (MEdiacom channel 12.1 or 812) and across the district's web sites and social media pages.
Over $1.2 million being distributed to help Iowans in public housing
Leaders from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development announced $1.2 million will go towards helping Iowans who live in low-income housing.
Of that amount, the Des Moines Municipal Housing Agency is getting roughly $144,000. The Central Iowa Regional Housing Authority is receiving nearly $58,000.
Gov. Reynolds holds COVID-19 update Friday; provides guidance on religious gatherings
WATCH: Gov. Kim Reynolds' full press conference for May 1, 2020
As restrictions from COVID-19 loosen in parts of the state, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported 740 new cases of COVID-19 in Iowa. This brings the total number of cases to 7,884.
516 of the cases reported Friday come from Black Hawk, Dallas, Polk and Woodbury counties.
There were 8 more Iowans who have died from the virus, bringing the total death toll to 170.
The additional deaths were located in the following counties:
- Bremer County, 1 elderly adult (81+)
- Linn County, 2 middle-age adults (41-60 years)
- Muscatine County, 1 older adult (61-80 years), 1 elderly adult (81+)
- Polk County, 2 elderly adults (81+)
- Scott County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
IDPH reports 45,593 people have been tested for COVID-19. One out of 69 Iowans have been tested, the state said.
In addition, IDPH has shared guidelines for religious gatherings.They'll be allowed to resume in-person worship with an unlimited amount of attendees, but have to follow social distancing guidelines.
Read the document below:
Healthy pigs being killed as meatpacking backlog hits farms
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to force the closure of meatpacking plants across the country, hog farmers have had to respond quickly to a rapidly growing backlog of animals in their barns by killing and disposing of pigs.
Many large-scale hog farmers have little choice once barns reach full capacity. Officials estimate about 700,000 pigs across the nation can’t be processed each week and will be euthanized if plants don't resume operations. To help farmers, the USDA has set up a center that can supply the tools needed to euthanize hogs.
That includes captive bolt guns and cartridges that can be shot into the heads of larger animals as well as chutes, trailers and personal protective equipment.
Reporting by The Associated Press/David Pitt
Iowa businesses in 77 counties can reopen Friday with certain restrictions
Under a new public health proclamation from Gov. Kim Reynolds, certain businesses in 77 counties can resume operating under reduced occupancy.
The proclamation allows restaurants, malls, libraries, fitness centers, race tracks and other retail establishments to open using social distancing guidelines in those 77 counties.
Closures and COVID-19 guidance for all other items—such as amusement parks and hair salons—have been extended through May 15.
Churches statewide are allowed to operate while maintaining proper social distancing.
The businesses permitted to begin reopening in the 77 counties must use the following social distancing guidelines:
- Capacity limited: The establishment must limit the number of customers present at indoor or outdoor spaces to 50% of it's normal capacity.
- Groups limited: A restaurant may not allow any groups of six or more.
- Self-service prohibited.
- Common seating areas and play areas at malls remain closed.
- All social distancing, hygiene, and public health measures must be followed.
- Race tracks are permitted to open its operations as long as it does not permit spectators to attend it's events in person.
Ex-Iowa governor urges Reynolds to rethink COVID-19 policies.
Former Iowa Gov. Chet Culver is urging Gov. Kim Reynolds to back off policies that he says will force employees to be in unsafe workplaces that have had coronavirus outbreaks.
Culver says in a letter to Reynolds that workers should not have to risk serious illness or death or face the loss of their unemployment benefits. He warned that her policy choices “will affect Iowans’ quality of life for generations to come.”
Culver, a Democrat who served from 2007 to 2011, said the Republican governor’s policies have created an appearance “that the state’s most powerful business owners have exerted undue influence.”
Reporting by The Associated Press
Yankee Doodle Pops in Des Moines postponed
The Des Moines Symphony announced Friday that its annual Yankee Doodle Pops concert, as well as this summer's Water Works Pops, have been postponed.
"The Des Moines Symphony’s Yankee Doodle Pops, originally planned for Thursday, July 2 at the Iowa State Capitol, will be reimagined as a community-wide Labor Day celebration on Monday, September 7 in the Lauridsen Amphitheater at Water Works Park," the symphony wrote. "As part of this special concert, the Orchestra will honor Labor Day heroes who have been on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, including healthcare workers and first responders."
The Symphony’s second season of Water Works Pops, originally scheduled July 24-26, will move to Labor Day weekend along with the rescheduled Yankee Doodle Pops Concert.
The free, outdoor concerts will be offered on September 5-7, 2020.
Yankee Doodle Pops will return to the Iowa State Capitol next summer on Friday, July 2, 2021.
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