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COVID-19 live updates: Another Iowan dies from complications, 38 additional positive cases announced

Gov. Kim Reynolds will host a press conference on Sunday for more updates on COVID-19 in Iowa.

Sunday, March 29

Gov. Reynolds to hold press conference from SEOC at 2:30 p.m.

Gov. Reynolds will give an update on COVID-19 in Iowa at the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston. The press conference will be on-air on Local 5 and live streamed on our website.

Sen. Joni Ernst will join the governor at the press conference.

Another Iowan dies from COVID-19, 38 more positive cases confirmed

One more Iowan died due to complications from COVID-19 while 38 more have tested positive for it.

The Iowa Department of Public Health says another Iowan passed away Saturday night. They were an older adult, aged 61- to 80-years-old from Linn County.  

The IDPH says a total of 336 Iowans have tested positive for the virus while 5,013 tested negative.

RELATED: Another Iowan dies from COVID-19, 38 additional positive cases announced

City of Des Moines invites residents to "chalk the walk"

Des Moines Parks and Recreation is encouraging everyone to get outside safely. Express your creativity and share messages by chalking your your walk or driveway from Sunday through Tuesday.

Take a photo and post it to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #dmchalkthewalk.

Knoxville Raceway opening day delayed

The Knoxville Raceway announced Sunday that its season opener would be delayed until Sat. May 2.  They also announced the postponement of all April races: the races scheduled on April 18 and 25 will now be on May 29 and June 3, respectively.

The announcement comes in accordance with the federal government's extension of social distancing guidelines through April 30.

RELATED: President Trump adds 30 days to social distancing guidelines as coronavirus spreads

Lennox pauses production at Marshalltown factory

Lennox Heating and Cooling announced that two employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and are now both in self-quarantine.  Because of the critical nature of those two employees, production has been paused at the factory in Marshalltown.  The factory plans to resume operation on Thursday, April 9.


National Flood Insurance Program giving 120 grace period for people expecting to renew policies

FEMA announced that due to the virus, the National Flood Insurance Program is giving a 120 day grace period to those expecting to renew their policies between Feb. 13 and June 15.

You have 120 days after your policy expiration date to renew and there will be no lapse in coverage.

Relief fund for Iowa restaurant employees

The Iowa Restaurant Association Education Foundation (IRAEF) formed the Iowa Restaurant Employee Relief Fund to "activate immediate emergency funding" for restaurant employees.

The IRAEF is accepting donations on their website.

Rep. Abby Finkenauer shoots back at Pres. Trump after he tweets about press conference ratings.

President Trump tweeted Sunday that he is "a ratings hit" because of his daily White House briefings giving updates on the coronavirus.  

Rep. Abby Finkenauer, who represents Iowa's first congressional district, fired back at the president, saying his focus is in the wrong place amid the growing number of COVID-19-related deaths in Iowa and across the country.

Johnston-Grimes firefighters keep with tradition despite coronavirus

The Johnston-Grimes Metropolitan Fire Department finished their annual Fight For Air Climb Sunday, but it was a little different than usual.

This year they did it virtually, finishing it off 1,563 steps later.  If you wish to donate to the department, click here.

Saturday, March 28

An additional 64 Iowans test positive, total reaches 298

The Iowa Dept. of Public Health announced an additional 64 positive cases of COVID-19 in the state. A total of 298 Iowans have tested positive while 4,375 have tested negative. The death total is still three.

RELATED: COVID-19 in Iowa: 64 additional positive cases confirmed

Iowa Department of Natural Resources reduces "some amenities" at state parks

The Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources says state parks are still open, however there are a few operational changes in effect that visitors should be aware of:

  • All bathrooms, including pit latrines, are closed in Iowa state parks through April 15, 2020. Visitors should bring their own hand sanitizer, as no soap or sanitizer will be available in the park.
  • Because bathrooms are not available, camping is limited to self-contained (enclosed) campers with their own bathrooms through April 15. Camping through April 15 will be available for walk-ins only on a first-come, first-served basis. More details can be found on the park alerts page.
  • Shelters, camping cabins, youth camps and lodges are closed and not available for rentals because of the lack of bathroom facilities available.
  • Playgrounds are not advised to be used during this health emergency. Park staff are unable to keep them clean according to CDC guidelines. User discretion is advised.
  • Please remember to keep physical distance of at least 6 feet between you and other visitors, and avoid areas in parks where people may congregate such as points of interest, scenic overlooks, buildings and busy trails.

For more information about how COVID-19 is affecting Iowa state parks, visit the DNR's web page.

Iowa State Patrol delivers personal protective equipment to hospitals

A tweet from the Iowa State Patrol shows troopers delivering PPE to Polk, Ida, Dickinson, Lyon and more counties. 

Friday, March 27

Iowa Veterans Home staff member diagnosed with COVID-19

Iowa Veterans Home said a staff member diagnosed with the coronavirus had no contact with any of its residents. The staff member is in self isolation at home and won't return to work until they've completed the recommended isolation.

Des Moines Public Schools changing how AP exams are administered

Leaders from Des Moines Public Schools announced Friday traditional Advanced Placement exams won't take place this year.

The district said students will be given two different testing dates and can take the exam from home.

More information is available here.

Refugee service organization launches multilingual crisis line

The group EMBARC announced Friday they've launched a crisis line in multiple languages, to help refugees navigate information related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Information is provided in various languages. Click here for more information.

Gov. Kim Reynolds holds Friday press conference

Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Susan Christensen video-conferenced into Governor Kim Reynolds' press conference Friday. She said the judicial branch in Iowa is open for emergencies and essential cases. 

Officials said even if you are feeling mildly ill and receive a negative test for COVID-19, you should stay home until symptoms resolve .

The governor continues to rule out a shelter-in-place in Iowa.

Governor Reynolds said she is urging for calm, and hopes for things to return to normal.

Iowa Department of Public Health reports 2 additional deaths plus 56 more positive cases

Iowa's total of positive cases is now at 235, with two more deaths reported. The state's total deaths now sit at three.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, one fatality was an individual 81+ from Poweshiek County and another was an individual 61-80 years old from Allamakee County.

3,740 tests have come back negative.

RELATED: 2 more die from COVID-19 in Iowa; 235 confirmed to have virus with 3,740 negative tests

Iowa Department of Human Services offering expanded options for Food and Nutrition Services

Food Assistance will continue for all current recipients and benefits will increase for current and new recipients, Iowa DHS announced Friday.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act allows for:

  • Increased benefits for current and newly eligible applicants
    • DHS will increase April and May Food Assistance benefits to the maximum allowable amount per household.
    • If a household is not already receiving the maximum  amount for April and May, those additional benefits will be added to their EBT card with their normal monthly benefits.
  • Adjustment of Food Assistance eligibility requirements and benefits to address the loss of school lunch
    • DHS is working collaboratively with the Department of Education to research opportunities related to increased food insecurity for Iowa families who rely on school lunch programs.

Food Assistance Auto-Recertification
Food Assistance households who would normally have a recertification due in March, April, or May, have had their cases recertified for six months. A Notice of Decision will not be sent to households regarding this extension.

Suspension of Food Assistance Work Requirements
The new legislation allows states to suspend Food Assistance work requirements, except in limited circumstances. Food Assistance recipients will not have benefits terminated for failure to comply with work requirements.

New Online Options to Purchase Food
Amazon and Walmart now offer online options for Iowans using their Food Assistance EBT card to purchase food. This service is available statewide. Amazon will deliver to all Iowa ZIP codes. Walmart provides this service for all store locations that offer online grocery. DHS is exploring additional opportunities to expand this program to include other retailers.

Visit the retailers’ websites to order groceries or get more information:

Food Assistance recipients will be able to use their benefits to purchase eligible food items, but will not be able to use benefits to pay for service or delivery charges. For more information, please visit https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/online-purchasing-pilot.

Emergency Food Assistance
DHS requested an addendum to the state plan for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which increases access to food distribution to address food insecurity related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Iowans who are in need of emergency assistance due to an income change are now eligible for TEFAP. Iowans who are in need of food should contact their local food bank to find TEFAP providers in their area.

Home-Delivered Meals
On March 18, 2020, DHS requested federal waivers to expand home-delivered meals to certain Medicaid recipients. This will provide home-delivered meals for Iowa Medicaid members who are home-bound and for home- and community-based service (HCBS) waiver members if their waiver does not have meals as an allowable service. We’ve also expanded homemaker services which allow someone to come into the home to prepare meals for HCBS waiver members.

Great Des Moines Botanical Garden closed until further notice

"As the threat of [COVID-19] continues, the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden will remain closed until further notice," a statement reads. "This includes regular admission in addition to all classes, programs, the Garden Shop and Trellis Café.

Some regional health boards making changes to treating COVID-19 patients

Starting Friday morning, the Pella Regional Health Center made the decision to treat people who presented symptoms of the coronavirus at a new facility. 

Credit: Pella Regional Health Center

Patients presenting with cough, upper respiratory symptoms, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, sinus or ear infection, and other respiratory or infectious symptoms will be seen at the new PAC instead of the Walk-In Clinic at Pella Medical Clinic. People are asked to enter off of Jefferson Street.

Thursday, March 26

Outlets of Des Moines announces closure

The Outlets of Des Moines in Altoona announced Thursday that it will close all stores and shopping areas from Thursday, March 26th at 7:00 p.m. until Tuesday, April 7, 2020, in accordance with an expanded state proclamation issued by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.

"Outlets of Des Moines has continued to provide our shoppers with access to goods and services throughout the past few weeks and have assisted retailers and eateries in safely staying open during these challenging times,” says Alyssa Knudsen, Marketing Director for Outlets of Des Moines. “This situation is complex and constantly evolving. We will let you know immediately when our center is open again."

Officials with the Outlets of Des Moines say they plan to reopen for shoppers as soon as possible.

First Case of COVID-19 Confirmed in Wright County

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported the first positive case of novel coronavirus in Wright County. 

The Wright County Emergency Management Department says the individual is currently self-isolating at home. 

“We continue to urge all residents to make prevention a priority by following these measurers.” said Wright County Environmental Health, Epidemiology, and Emergency Preparedness, Sandy McGrath, RN.

People should continue to follow all state and local guidelines on proper protection and safety regarding COVID-19.

Lennox temporarily shuts down Marshalltown facility after employee tests positive for COVID-19

Lennox Industries, which is known for making heating and cooling equipment, announced Thursday they're closing their Marshalltown plant, after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. 

In a statement, a company spokesperson said the employee in question has received medical attention and is resting at home. 

Lennox Industries said employees have been notified, and anyone who has been in close contact with the affected employee, has been asked to self-quarantine. 

They anticipate resuming operations on Monday. 

Kemin Industries Employee tests positive for COVID-19

Kemin Industries announced Thursday that a Des Moines employee tested positive for the coronavirus. Kemin states the employee has been self-isolating since March 13th after not feeling well. The employee is said to have received treatment and is recovering well.

All Kemin employees who may have been in contact with the impacted individual have been notified, the company said Thursday. Additionally, Kemin says the facility where the employee works has been deep cleaned and sanitized.

Kemin says it has been proactive in responding to COVID-19 by enacting various protocols, including a work-from-home mandate and implementation of twice-daily temperature checks at all U.S. locations. Globally, Kemin locations also follow similar policies and temperature checks.  

Gov. Reynolds extends health emergency closures for restaurants, bars

All restaurants and bars will remain closed through April 7, a one-week extension from Iowa's original statewide health emergency proclamation, Gov. Reynolds announced Thursday.

Establishments can still offer drive-thru or carry-out options while dine-in options are prohibited.

In addition, the governor has announced effective 5:00 p.m. Friday, all non-essential and elective surgeries in the state that can be delayed will be suspended. 

Read Gov. Rerynolds new proclamation in full here.

RELATED: School districts offer free meals as Iowans adjust to statewide COVID-19 health emergency

Positive COVID-19 cases up to 179

The latest numbers from the Iowa Department of Pubic Health include an increase of 34 positive coronavirus cases.

2,975 tests have come back negative.

RELATED: Positive COVID-19 cases in Iowa up to 179; negative tests at 2,975

Iowans file 41,000+ unemployment claims

3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, including 41,890 claims filed in Iowa.

For the week ending March 14, 2,229 Iowa claims were filed. That means 39,661 new claims were filed last week.

The sharp increase comes following a statewide health emergency from Gov. Reynolds that has closed dine-in options at restaurants and an additional proclamation closing services such as barber shops and tattoo parlors.

RELATED: VERIFY: What COVID-19 stands for

Des Moines Public Schools launch expanded meal program

Starting Thursday, Des Moines Public Schools will provide multiple meals for DMPS students during the COVID-19 closure. DMPS employees and volunteers will distribute food at every middle school location and other locations in the community.

Credit: Des Moines Public Schools

Food service will include a grab-and-go lunch, breakfast for the next day, and on Fridays additional food for the weekend. Grants from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture are helping to pay for meals, but the district is asking for help as well.

You can make a donation by clicking/tapping here.

Here are the locations for where students can pick up their meals:

  • Brody Middle School, 2501 Park Ave.
  • Callanan Middle School, 3010 Center St.
  • Goodrell Middle School, 3300 E. 29th St.
  • Harding Middle School, 203 East Euclid Ave.
  • Hiatt Middle School, 1430 East University Ave.
  • Hoyt Middle School, 2700 East 42nd St.
  • McCombs Middle School, 201 County Line Road
  • Meredith Middle School, 4827 Madison Ave.
  • Merrill Middle School, 5301 Grand Ave.
  • Weeks Middle School, 901 East Park Ave.
  • The Meadows, 2525 County Line Rd.
  • Common Bond, 1421 Des Moines St.
  • Deer Ridge, 6000 Creston Ave.
  • Oakridge, 1401 Center St.
  • Hickman Flats, 2400 Hickman Rd.
  • The Watchman, 2723 Euclid Ave.
  • Willow Park, 6514 Chaffee Rd.
  • Oak View Terrance, 2901 Boston Ave.
  • Melbourne, 5515 SE 14th St.
  • Living Waters Fellowship, 3000 SE 22nd St.
  • Woodland Park Apts., 4530 Lower Beaver Rd.
  • Corner of Hickman Rd. and Martin Luther King Jr. Pkwy.

New visitor restrictions for Des Moines area-hositals

There are now 145 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Iowa as of Wednesday morning. 

Half of those cases were confirmed over the weekend, and the virus is now in community spread, according to Gov. Kim Reynolds.

2,578 tests have come back negative.

National organizations and local businesses are implementing changes to guard against the spread of the virus.

RELATED: School districts making sure kids are fed during COVID-19 pandemic

Reynolds' state agencies have coordinated a new website for the latest details and information about coronavirus in our state. Go here for updated information and graphs that track the disease in our state.

Mental Health Tips from Polk County Health Services

Iowa National Guard activates additional soldiers for COVID-19 response

Approximately 40 Soldiers from the 67th Troop Command, based in Iowa City, were activated on March 26 to augment the state’s COVID-19 response in eastern Iowa.

Soldiers delivered approximately 66 pallets to 23 county distribution centers, Thursday. These pallets contained medical personal protective equipment used by healthcare workers to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

There are now more than 90 Soldiers and Airmen on duty supporting a variety of COVID-19 response missions across the state. 

Wednesday, March 25

Gov. Reynolds holds press conference for COVID-19 updates

The governor started the press conference with the recent updates in Iowa.

  • First death reported in the state on Tuesday
  • 145 positive cases
  • 23 people in the hospital
  • over 2,500 negative cases

Reynolds acknowledged that other states have issued stay-at-home orders. She said that while there hasn't been an official order in Iowa, some of the mitigation efforts put in place are "equivalent" to stay at home orders.

Gov. Reynolds issues emergency waiver for remote notarization

The in-person requirement for notarizing documents is temporarily waived for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. A new law allowing remote notarization was set to go into effect on July 1, 2020, the governor's declaration accelerates the timeline.

These are the temporary guidelines that apply during the emergency waiver of the in-person requirement:

  • The new remote notary law is currently scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2020. Notaries are advised that as that date approaches, we will be re-evaluating what the changeover will look like and will issue further guidance at that time. Questions may be emailed to the Secretary of State’s Office at notary@sos.iowa.gov.

  • Under the emergency declaration, remote notarial acts must conform to all the provisions in Iowa Administrative Code 721-43, Iowa Code chapter 9B, and every provision of Section 6 of Senate File 475.
  • Section 6 requires the use a software service designed for the purpose of facilitating remote online notarization, as opposed to services that primarily offer video-conferencing ability. Online notarization services include the necessary identity-proofing, e-signing, and recording/storage capabilities.
  • Even though the revised administrative rules are not yet in effect, the ARC 4997C draft is available online and will help notaries ensure they will be in compliance when they do take effect: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/aco/bulletin/03-25-2020.pdf
  • Section 6 requires notaries to register with our office before performing any remote notarial acts. A web application is available to complete and submit on our website at this address: https://sos.iowa.gov/remotenotary
  • It is strongly advised that notaries follow the training on how to use the remote online notarization service provided by the service they choose.
  • Verification of the customer’s identity is of critical. Notaries are advised to be certain that the video resolution through the service they choose is sufficient to see identity-proofing documents clearly, and that the audio clarity is sufficient to understand everything the customer says.
  • Notaries are reminded that they are professionally responsible for properly performing notarizations under the law, even in this emergency context.

Fareway gives bonuses, extra time-off to some of its workers

Iowa-based grocery chain Fareway announced it'll give cash bonuses and extra time-off to its hourly workers. 

The bonuses will be given to qualifying hourly employees April 3, the company said in a statement.

 Des Moines Public Schools launch expanded meal program

Starting Thursday, Des Moines Public Schools will provide multiple meals for DMPS students during the COVID-19 closure. DMPS employees and volunteers will distribute food at every middle school location and other locations in the community.

Food service will include a grab-and-go lunch, breakfast for the next day, and on Fridays additional food for the weekend. Grants from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture are helping to pay for meals, but the district is asking for help as well.

You can make a donation by clicking/tapping here.

Here are the locations for where students can pick up their meals:

  • Brody Middle School, 2501 Park Ave.
  • Callanan Middle School, 3010 Center St.
  • Goodrell Middle School, 3300 E. 29th St.
  • Harding Middle School, 203 East Euclid Ave.
  • Hiatt Middle School, 1430 East University Ave.
  • Hoyt Middle School, 2700 East 42nd St.
  • McCombs Middle School, 201 County Line Road
  • Meredith Middle School, 4827 Madison Ave.
  • Merrill Middle School, 5301 Grand Ave.
  • Weeks Middle School, 901 East Park Ave.
  • The Meadows, 2525 County Line Rd.
  • Common Bond, 1421 Des Moines St.
  • Deer Ridge, 6000 Creston Ave.
  • Oakridge, 1401 Center St.
  • Hickman Flats, 2400 Hickman Rd.
  • The Watchman, 2723 Euclid Ave.
  • Willow Park, 6514 Chaffee Rd.
  • Oak View Terrance, 2901 Boston Ave.
  • Melbourne, 5515 SE 14th St.
  • Living Waters Fellowship, 3000 SE 22nd St.
  • Woodland Park Apts., 4530 Lower Beaver Rd.
  • Corner of Hickman Rd. and Martin Luther King Jr. Pkwy.

New visitor restrictions for Des Moines area-hositals

Effective Wednesday, visitors at UnityPoint Health Des Moines, MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center or Broadlawns Medical Center are not allowed unless a visitor is a designated caregiver and the patient falls into one of the categories:

  • ED/Outpatient Areas/Clinics: One visitor
  • All other areas: One visitor

Only allowed under the following circumstances: 

  • Patient is imminently dying
  • Patient is a minor under age 18
  • Patient is suffering from confusion or delirium
  • In Maternity Services (Labor & Delivery, Postpartum) one designated caregiver/support person. Doulas and outside birth coaches will not be permitted.
  • Patient having surgery: One visitor only through pre-surgical area, waiting rooms and through the duration of the patient's surgery and post-op course until discharged home

All designed caregivers must be free of any signs of illness, according to the Polk County Health Department.

Designated caregivers:

  • Siblings under the age of 16 are not allowed
  • Always remain in patient room as appropriate
  • Limit movement within the facility and avoid common areas
  • Free from illness such as (fever, sore throat, cough, diarrhea, vomiting or runny nose)

"We understand these visitor restrictions may be difficult for you," PCHD said in a release. "While we are committed to providing a family-centered care environment, right now restricting visitors is in the best interest of our patients and staff."

21 additional positive cases announced, total is 145 in Iowa

IDPH announced 21 more positive cases in Iowa, totaling to 145 cases. Negative cases in the state total to 2,578. Locations and ages of the new cases can be found by clicking/tapping here

Drake University announces extension of remote learning, plans for commencement, refunds for room and board

Drake University President Marty Martin announced an extension of remote learning through the end of the 2020 spring semester. Martin also announced that May 2020 graduates will have the option of a virtual commencement in May or the opportunity to attend the December 2020 live commencement.

Refunds of room and board fees will be disbursed no later than April 13, according to the announcement. Move out plans for residence halls will be announced "in the near future."

Des Moines police officers are staying safe

In a social media post, the Des Moines Police department outlined how it is ensuring officers on the force are staying safe while COVID-19 continues to spread in Iowa.

  • Non-essential support staff are set up to work from home. Making sure the bills get paid, etc.
  •  Detectives  are divided into teams and are working opposite hours so that if COVID-19 hits The 3rd Floor (home of the Investigations Division), investigators will be available.
  • Roll Calls were suspended last week. Supervisors are checking officers in and out individually.
  • Like everyone else, officers said they have doubled down on the disinfecting of buildings, cars, equipment and ourselves.

Sam's Club to offer special hours for the elderly and special needs individuals

Sam's club is offering special hours from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Tuesday's and Thursday's for seniors or people with disabilities or conditions that make them particularly susceptible to COVID-19. 

The company will also give those shoppers the option to provide a list to a store employee from the car in the parking lot, who will then gather those items for the customer. This will begin Thursday, March 26. 

Tuesday, March 24

President Trump makes federal aid available to State of Iowa

Federal funding has been made available to state, tribal and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures (Category B), including direct federal assistance under Public Assistance, for all areas affected by COVID-19 at a federal cost share of 75 percent.

Paul Taylor has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. Taylor said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further assessments.

IDPH reports first coronavirus-related death

An individual between 61 and 80 years old in Dubuque County has been identified as the first COVID-19 fatality in Iowa, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

"Our hearts are heavy with the first loss of an Iowa to COVID-19," Gov. Reynolds said in a statement. "The thoughts and prayers of our state are with the family during this difficult time.

Iowa National Guard delivers medical supplies

Soldiers from the 1133rd Transportation Company of Mason City and its Iowa City detachment delivered four semis of medical personal protective equipment to five Iowa counties on Thursday.

The Iowa National Guard used its heavy hauler M915A5 Line-Haul Tractor Trucks to deliver the supplies to Black Hawk, Johnson, Polk, Pottawattamie and Tama counties. 

The Iowa National Guard said such missions will "continue for the foreseeable future."

Eight Soldiers from the 3654th Support Maintenance Company out of Knoxville with a detachment in Oskaloosa delivered and assembled two large tents in Oskaloosa for the Mahaska Health Partnership hospital’s COVID-19 response plan on Monday.

There are currently 42 service members in a State Active Duty status.

Iowa Department of Public Health waives certain rules for medical marijuana

All of Iowa’s dispensaries remain open for business during the Governor’s emergency proclamation in response to COVID-19, according to IDPH.

Certain administrative rules have been waived with the following guidance per a department release:

“Curbside Pick-up” Available at Dispensaries

To allow for additional social distancing, the Department has allowed for curbside pickup of medications at dispensaries. If you are a patient or caregiver and would like to utilize this service, please call ahead to your nearest dispensary and arrange for your order to be ready when you arrive.

Guidance for Telemedicine  

At this time, there is currently no rule forbidding the use of telemedicine for a patient’s certification. If patients are needing their certification completed during this time, they are encouraged to inquire with their physician about the ability to certify them electronically. If seeing your physician is not possible during this time, please call the OMC at the phone number below for assistance.

Guidance for Visiting the DOT

During this response, the DOT is seeing people by appointment only. However, patients must still visit the DOT to receive their physical card. Patients and caregivers are encouraged to call their local DOT to let them know they are calling to secure an appointment to have their registration card made. They have designated this as an essential service, and will expedite the scheduling of your appointment. Additionally, the OMC website will host a list of DOTs that remain open in Iowa.

Greater Des Moines Partnership postpones Downtown Farmers' Market 

The Downtown Farmers' Market has decided to postpone Opening Day until restrictions are lifted. It was originally scheduled to open on May 2. 

No shelter order in place in Iowa as of Tuesday afternoon

Gov. Reynolds said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon that one of the 18 individuals hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19 has been released.

A shelter in place order has not been issued for the State of Iowa. 

"While sheltering in place is a tool that is currently being used in other states, we do not believe it is a mitigation measure that is necessary in Iowa at this time," said Sarah Reisetter with the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Iowa Department of Public Health releases hospitalization data

According to IDPH data, 18 individuals remain hospitalized. Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Tuesday afternoon that one had been released, dropping the total to 17.

Other numbers include:

  • 9 are discharged and recovering
  • 63 were hospitalized
  • 0 have died

Hospitalization is for previous 24-hour period and does not include pending case investigations.

Polk County sets up Iowa State Fairgrounds as shelter for the homeless who test positive

“When we are sick, we want to be comforted in a place where you feel safe and can get well. For people experiencing homeless, they do not have a home,” said Polk County Health Department Director Helen Eddy. "Everyone needs care and compassion during this time.”

People experiencing homelessness and test positive for COVID-19 will have an opportunity to stay at the shelter to recover and everyone will be provided with supportive care such as meals, beds, laundry services, supportive medical care and additional resources at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. 

There will be extra security at the fairgrounds, according to PCHD. 

Individuals who have tested positive with COVID-19 and are trying to get well will be housed in the 4H building. The fence around it is used as a barrier to minimize community spread of COVID-19.

“The fence may look scary to fairground neighbors and the community," said Polk County Supervisor Tom Hockensmith. "Please rest assured, this is to make sure we are reducing the spread of COVID-19 and respect the dignity of those who are staying at the shelter. This is such a difficult time for everyone that we need compassion for everyone including our most vulnerable populations.”

For more information about the COVID-19 in Polk County, please Polk County Health Department’s website at www.polkcountyiowa.gov/health.

19 additional positive tests, negative tests surpass 2,300

Iowa's total is now up to 124. Buchanan, Cedar, Jasper and Warren counties each have confirmed their first positive case of COVID-19.

RELATED: IDPH: 124 positive COVID-19 cases in Iowa; more than 2,300 negative tests

Complimentary boxed meals for truckers

They're on the roads bringing us the essentials items we need and today the Iowa Motor Truck Association will be providing one thousand boxed lunches for truck drivers.

Drivers can get their complimentary lunch at the Jasper County Weigh Station Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and and Wednesday in Dallas County.

The boxed lunches have been prepared by Gateway Market, In The Bag Deli, Main Street Café & Bakery and Palmer's Deli.

RELATED: What are the 'non-essential' businesses still open?

RELATED: Iowans adjust to new hours, regulations for grocery shopping and dining out

For previous updates on COVID-19 in Iowa, click here.

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