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Live updates: Gov. Reynolds orders schools closed for rest of the school year

For the latest coronavirus coverage, text FACTS to 515-457-1026.

A public hotline has been established for Iowans with questions about COVID-19. The line is available 24/7 by calling 2-1-1 or 1-800-244-7431.

Four more Iowans have died from COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 64, according to the latest numbers from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Here are Friday morning's numbers from the IDPH: 

  • 2,332 positive cases, an increase of 191
  • 19,460 negative tests, an increase of 926
  • 189 hospitalized as of Thursday night

1,007 Iowans have recovered, putting the state's recovery rate at 43%.

For the latest coronavirus coverage, text FACTS to 515-457-1026.

Friday, April 17

Iowa schools closed for the rest of the school year

Schools will not reopen for the remainder of the school year, Gov. Reynolds announced Friday. 

"I regret to say that I was schools will not read for this school year, but school districts will be required to continue to provide content continuous learning opportunities for their students until the end of the regular school year," Reynolds said.

Spring sports in the state are also canceled, Iowa Department of Education Director Dr. Ann Lebo said. 

A decision on summer sports will be made by June 1.

RELATED: 'We couldn't have a one size fits all approach': COVID-19 forces Iowa schools to adapt to new learning obstacles

New helpline for families personally affected by Alzheimer's Disease

The Alzheimer's Association of America announced Friday a new resource to help answer coronavirus questions, targeted towards families dealing with Alzheimer's Disease.

Licensed social workers staff the helpline, and it's available in more than 90 languages. For more information, click here.

Thursday, April 16

COVID-19 pandemic prompts pigs to be euthanized 

Local 5 has learned through Senator Chuck Grassley's office pigs are being euthanized because they have nowhere to go.

Deaths in Iowa now at 60, positive cases over 2,100

According to the latest numbers from the Iowa Department of Public Health, seven more Iowans have died of COVID-19 and total positive cases are now at 2,141.

Region 6 of the state's Regional Medical Coordination Centers, located in northeast Iowa, has reached a 10.

Gov. Reynolds has ordered that gatherings in Region 6 be limited to "only people who live together in the same household" through April 30.

Region 6 includes the following counties: Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Grundy, Howard, Jones, Linn and Winneshiek.

WATCH: Gov. Reynolds press conference on Thursday, April 16

IDPH released a break-down by county of deaths Thursday:

  • Allamakee County, 1 older adult (61-80 years) 
  • Linn County, 1 older adult (61-80 years) 
  • Polk County, 1 adult, 1 older adult, 1 elderly adult (81+) 
  • Louisa County, 1 middle-age (41-60 years) 
  • Tama County, 1 elderly adult (81+) 

Sen. Joni Ernst joins President Trump's 'Opening our Country Council'

President Trump announced he has chosen Iowa Senator Joni Ernst to be a part of his task force to re-open the American economy. 

The senator tweeted her appreciation for being picked Thursday.

Iowa sending new rapid-test machines to rural hospitals

Iowa officials are sending machines that can conduct rapid coronavirus testing to health care facilities in rural areas, including some that currently have few confirmed cases. 

The office of Gov. Kim Reynolds said the machines are being stationed at hospitals in Osceola, Red Oak, Spencer, Mount Ayr, Manchester, Algona, Storm Lake and Boone. The machines are also being sent to the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown and hospitals in Waukon, Washington, Columbus City, and Independence. 

A spokesman for the governor, Pat Garrett, says the Iowa Department of Public Health focused on communities that do not have other testing resources close by, have high populations of elderly citizens and could serve as regional hubs.

Reporting by The Associated Press 

More than 40,000 Iowans filed for unemployment last week

46,356 initial unemployment claims were filed in Iowa for the week ending April 11, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That is a 27% drop from the week before when nearly 65,000 Iowans filed for unemployment.

A total of $37,881,985.37 of unemployment insurance benefits were paid to claimants for the same week.

The following industries filed the most claims, according to Iowa Workforce Development: 

  • Health Care and Social Assistance (6,789)
  • Manufacturing (6,002)
  • Retail Trade (5,813)
  • Accommodation and Food Services (4,292)
  • Industry Not Recognized (9,604)

43,862 initial claims were by individuals who work and live in Iowa, while the other 2,494 were by those who work in Iowa and live in another state.

RELATED: 5.2 million more seek unemployment aid as US layoffs continue to spread

Wednesday, April 15

Economists: Virus will cause huge damage to Iowa ag industry

A group of agriculture economists are estimating the coronavirus pandemic will cause billions of dollars in damage to Iowa's crop and livestock industries. 

In a report released Wednesday, the economists say the ethanol industry will see $2.5 billion in losses due to lower fuel demand and the state's hog industry $2.1 billion in losses. Damage to corn is estimated at $788 million, soybeans at $213 million and cattle $34 million.  

The economists note the numbers will change as the pandemic evolves. 

Reporting by The Associated Press/David Pitt

RELATED: 'Farmers are losing $37 per head': Pig farmers take a hit because of coronavirus pandemic

RELATED: Iowa's agriculture impact from COVID-19

Long-term care facility On With Life confirms positive cases

Seven patients at an Ankeny long-term care facility tested positve for COVID-19. Abby Bogaard with On With Life refused to be recorded. However, she told Local 5's Lakyn McGee that those residents are being isolated in a separate wing at the facility. 

Bogaard also said that 13 staff members tested positive and are quarantining at home.

Latest details from the Iowa Department of Public Health

Reynolds announced an additional four deaths from COVID-19. The statewide total is now 53.

96 new cases reported Wednesday morning add up to 1,995 positive cases in the state.

17,874 negative tests have been completed in the state.

908 Iowans have recovered from the virus. The recovery rate is 46 percent in the state.

Des Moines Public Schools expanding free meal sites

Iowa's largest school district will increase its site for meals from 22 to 50 beginning Monday, April 20.

“Our staff have been working 12+ hour shifts to assemble thousands of meals each day,” Food and Nutrition director Amanda Miller said. "And our staff and volunteers at the distribution sites have been essential to creating a drive-thru meal distribution that is benefiting thousands of children.”

RELATED: Virtual learning tips for Iowa students and parents

First round of applications for Iowa Arts & Culture Emergency Relief Fund open

The Iowa Arts & Culture Emergency Relief Fund is accepting applications for one-time funding of $1,000 to eligible individual artists and musicians. Another $2,500 will be gifted to eligible arts nonprofits in Iowa who've experienced a loss of opportunity because of COVID-19.

Applications are due by Friday, April 17.

Tuesday, April 14

Latest numbers from the Iowa Department of Public Health

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced an additional 189 cases on Tuesday, the highest number of cases reported in one day so far. 1,899 Iowans total are infected with COVID-19.

As of Monday night, 163 Iowans are hospitalized. A total of 790 Iowans have recovered from the virus. The recovery rate is 42%. 

Six more Iowans died from the virus, the statewide total is now 49.

Outbreaks at Iowa care centers grow, infecting more than 200

More than 200 residents and employees have tested positive for the coronavirus in a growing number of outbreaks at Iowa long-term care facilities. 

New statistics released Tuesday by the Iowa Department of Public Health show that the number of state-confirmed outbreaks at those facilities has doubled to six since last week. The agency defines an outbreak as one in which at least three residents test positive for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus.

The new outbreaks include 22 cases at a rehabilitation center for the disabled in Ankeny; six at a Des Moines nursing home specializing in demantia care; and six at a Lutheran retirement home in Waverly. 

Reporting by The Associated Press/Ryan Foley

Workforce Development: CARES Act weekly $600 deposits coming this week

Iowans waiting for the CARES Act weekly $600 benefits will see their deposits this week. The Iowa Workforce Development said claimants with a debit card should see their deposits on Thursday, April 16. Direct deposits will be made on Friday, April 17.

The Iowa State Fair is still on

Don't worry fair-goers, the Iowa State Fair is continuing preparations during these unprecedented times. That's according to a release from the fair's manager and CEO Gary Slater. 

Slater said there may be some changes at the fair due to COVID-19 protocols. Like many other businesses, fair staff are preparing remotely. The fair is scheduled for August 13-23.

Hy-Vee Joins Kum & Go in offering full-service fueling

Hy-Vee announced Tuesday that they'll offer free, full-service fueling at all of its convenience stores.

The service is offered 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. Customers can select the "Fuel Help" button or call the phone number listed on the pump

Financial Empowerment Center opens in Polk County

Polk County is partnering with the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund and the Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families to open an Iowa chapter of the Financial Empowerment Center.

The center will offer financial counseling and "one-on-one financial coaching" for free. 

“The opening of the Financial Empowerment Center could not come at a better time”, Polk County Supervisor Matt McCoy said in a statement. “Individuals and families of all income levels are feeling financial stress from COVID-19 and the FEC is an excellent free resource to help create new budgets and identify additional sources of assistance.” 

Appointments can be made by calling 515-697-7700 or online at www.empowermoney.org.

RELATED: Financial Empowerment Center supporting Iowans during COVID-19 uncertainty

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends frequent hand washing, avoiding close contact and staying home if you are sick as main areas of focus for prevention and containment of COVID-19.

RELATED: Live COVID-19 updates: 2 additional deaths reported in Iowa; over 500 schools submit plans for continuous learning

RELATED: Live COVID-19 updates: 7 more Iowans die from coronavirus, fatalities in the state reach 41

RELATED: Live updates: Reynolds signs new COVID-19 public health emergency proclamation