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Liveblog: 181 New COVID-19 cases Saturday; Ten Additional Deaths

Iowa schools and many businesses remain closed through April 30 by order of the governor as the state works to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. We'll be posting updates from Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Public Health and other news as it becomes available here for the week of April 12-18. 

Get caught up on the most important headlines from from April 6-11here.

Editor's Note: This post has been updated to reflect the new reporting maps and data released by state health officials on Tuesday, April 14.

Saturday, April 18

10:48 a.m. – 181 more cases, ten more COVID-19 deaths reported

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 181 additional COVID-19 cases Saturday, bringing the state’s total number of confirmed cases to 2,513. There have been additional 974 negative tests for a total of 20,434 negative tests to date, which includes testing reported by the State Hygienic Lab and other labs. 

New cases: 181 Confirmed cases: 2,513 Deaths: 74

Ten additional deaths were also reported, bringing Iowa’s total number of confirmed deaths to 74.

193 Iowans are currently hospitalized. State officials say 1,095 Iowans have recovered from COVID-19. 

Friday, April 17

4:23 p.m. – University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics announces 64 workers have COVID-19

The state’s largest hospital is now publishing how many of its employees have tested positive for the new coronavirus. As of Friday, 64 workers at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics have self-reported their status.

The hospital says it believes most of the infections are due to community spread and not workplace exposure.

Health care workers are among those prioritized for testing, as resources remain limited.

4:10 p.m. – Black Hawk County officials ask Waterloo meatpacking facility to suspend operations

A group of 19 Black Hawk County elected officials have signed a letter asking the Tyson meatpacking facility in Waterloo to suspend operations due to a spike in COVID 19 cases.

County supervisors chair Chris Schwartz read the letter in a press briefing Friday afternoon. “We ask that you voluntarily cease operations on a voluntary basis at your Waterloo facility so that appropriate cleaning and mitigation strategies can take place be in place for the resumption of production.”

Earlier this afternoon, the Iowa Pork Producers issued a statement in support of keeping the plant open. It says in part: “The Tyson plant in Waterloo is critical to the work of many family pork producers. Closing it will create significant hardship for rural Northeast Iowa farmers, and that hardship will spread to farmers in other parts of the state and all the related businesses that keep them operational."

2:56 p.m. – Meat processing facilities employee concerns

As Iowa’s coronavirus case numbers continue to climb, more are showing up in the state’s meat processing plants. Many workers at the facilities are immigrants and refugees, and advocates say they don’t feel safe.

Cases have been spiking in Louisa and Black Hawk counties. Much of the spread is thought to be linked to local meat processing plants. While some companies have idled their facilities in the state, many haven’t.

Some workers and advocates tell IPR that employees in the facilities can’t practice social distancing, and aren’t notified when others test positive.

Advocates say language and cultural barriers make it even harder for immigrant workers to protect themselves.

2:22 p.m. – University of Northern Iowa employee tests positive for COVID-19

In a letter to the campus community, UNI president Mark Nook says the employee self-reported Friday. He says the individual was last on the campus more than 30 days ago and has been self-isolating at home. 

No other information about the employee was released. Nook says he sent the notification because it was the first confirmed case at UNI and because the person reached out to report their illness. He says he does not expect to report additional confirmed cases through campus-wide messages moving forward.

2:10 p.m. – Gov. Kim Reynolds says schools will not reopen next month

At Friday’s press conference she announced districts should plan to continue distance learning through at least the end of the school year.

The previous target for reopening schools was May 1, although some districts like Des Moines Public Schools had said that was unrealistic. Reynolds now says the state does not have the testing it needs to track whether opening schools could cause a resurgence of COVID-19. 

We still haven't actually peaked at this point and we just don't have the data that I think we'll need to have a conversation about opening them up.

Reynolds says schools will be asked to submit a ‘Return to Learn Plan’ by July 1, covering how they’ll help students make up lost time with teachers. That could include bringing students back early. Reynolds is dropping the requirement that districts start school after August 23.

1:48 p.m. - State sends 2,700 COVID-19 test kits to Tyson plant in Waterloo

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says the state is sending another 2,700 kits to the Tyson Foods plant in Waterloo to test workers for COVID-19.

The virus has been spreading at the plant, leading some immigrant and refugee advocates to criticize the state’s response. Reynolds says her goal is to keep people safe and working.

“Testing is a critical component of that so we can start to understand what the scope of the exposure has been and through contact tracing how we can get in front of that and hopefully protect the employees and ultimately keep the plant up and going,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds says Iowa OSHA will investigate reports from workers who say conditions at the state’s meat packing plants are unsafe.

11:05 a.m. - State sees largest single day increase in COVID-19 cases

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Iowa has increased by 191 for a total of 2,332 positive tests overall, according to the state Department of Public Health.

New cases: 191 Confirmed cases: 2,332 Deaths: 64

Black Hawk County in northeast Iowa had the highest number of new cases. That’s where the virus has been spreading among workers at a Tyson Foods packing plant in Waterloo.

Gov. Kim Reynolds reported four more deaths from the coronavirus; 64 Iowans have died in the pandemic so far.

183 people are under hospitalization for treatment. Just over 1,000 have recovered from the illness.

11:00 a.m. - Gov. Kim Reynolds announces K-12 schools will not reopen this spring at daily press conference


Thursday, April 16

6:17 p.m. – A worker at a Sioux City pork plant has tested positive for COVID-19

Seaboard Triumph Foods in Sioux City announced Thursday that it was informed of the confirmed case, and that the person has not come to work since they were tested. The plant employs more than 2,400 people.

In a statement, the company said it has measures in place to keep a clean and sterile environment, that follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those include taking temperatures of employees before they enter the plant and monitoring people for flu-like symptoms. Employees also wear face coverings while at work.

Tyson Foods has seen a spike in cases in workers at its processing plant in Columbus Junction. The Tyson plant in Waterloo has also seen a spike.

5:00 p.m. - Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer responds to additional restrictions for Region 6

Democratic U.S. Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer says she’s disappointed that Gov. Kim Reynolds has not issued a “shelter-in-place” or “stay-at-home” order, despite promising to do so three weeks ago.

Finkenauer’s 1st Congressional District contains several meat processing plants and cereal-maker General Mills. “I knew we had to do everything we could to keep those essential workers safe. I’ve been disappointed at the lack of urgency here from the state,” Finkenauer says.

The Iowa Department of Public Health divides the state into six regions for the purposes of monitoring COVID-19 cases. Region 6 includes most of Rep. Finkenauer’s district. Today, the governor issued new restrictions on social gatherings there beginning at midnight.

Finkenauer says she applauds the Governor for closing schools and taking other steps, but says refusing to issue a formal order creates more confusion.

“I’m just disappointed the Governor didn’t follow through on what she said she was going to do when we asked about this three weeks ago,” Finkenauer says.

The Congresswoman also says she’s working to include enforceable rules and safety standards for employers of essential workers in the next stimulus package. She’s also calling for hazard pay for essential workers and an expansion of rapid testing amid COVID-19 outbreaks in several Iowa meat processing plants.

“I’ll be putting a letter in to the Department of Labor and also OSHA asking what are they doing and how are we increasing these standards,” says Finkenauer.

4:28 p.m. – Gov. Kim Reynolds says the state is working with businesses to prevent the spread of COVID-19

But there are coronavirus outbreaks at three meatpacking plants in Iowa, and some workers say their employers aren’t doing enough to keep them safe.

IPR asked Reynolds how the state will hold businesses accountable for not following COVID-19 safety guidelines. She says the state is educating employers and employees. “As I reach out and talk to these businesses we ask do you have everything you need, what are you doing to help protect the employees. And they have a vested interest also in taking care of their workforce to ensure they can continue to be up and running.”

Reynolds emphasized workers should stay home when sick. People without symptoms of illness can spread the virus.

4:21 p.m. – Iowa Department of Transportation traffic data shows impact of COVID-19

Fewer cars have been traveling on state highways, county roads and city streets over the last month. That’s according to traffic data that the Iowa Department of Transportation has been gathering from sensors in more than 120 locations around Iowa after COVID-19 reached the state.

Traffic on all types of roads saw a 20 percent decrease since the weekend of March 14, compared to data from the same day last year. The data shows an overall downward trend - especially on the weekends. Jeff Von Brown is the team leader for Iowa DOT’s modeling, forecasting and telemetrics team. “There’s definitely a pattern being seen where on the weekends it’s generally greater decreases as people are staying home, but when the work week comes back around, there’s usually a rebound, but it’s a basic pattern that’s repeating itself.” Von Brown also pointed out that county roads are not seeing as big a change in traffic flow as the others. He says that could be because rural residents may still need to use those roads to access basic services.

And Von Brown says there are pros and cons to having less traffic on the roads. Road construction crews have more flexibility to finish projects. But people are buying less gasoline, which means there will be less funding for road projects in the near future.

3:00 p.m. – 146 more cases, seven more COVID-19 deaths reported

New cases: 146 Confirmed cases: 2,141 Deaths: 60

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 146 additional COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing the state’s total number of confirmed cases to 2,141. Testing is still limited and there are likely many more cases in the state. Eighty-two counties have confirmed cases.

Seven additional deaths were reported, bringing Iowa’s total number of confirmed deaths to 60. Two more long-term care facility outbreaks were confirmed for a total of nine.

18,534 Iowans have tested negative for COVID-19, according to the state.

175 Iowans were hospitalized Wednesday. State officials say nearly 1,000 Iowans have recovered from COVID-19.

1:40 p.m. – Black Hawk County reports a dramatic spike in positive COVID-19 cases

Sheriff Tony Thompson says the number of cases went from eighty-eight Wednesday to 150 Thursday. The state’s map of cases currently lists 109 for the county, though that’s current only through 10 a.m. yesterday. He is confident many of the new cases being reported are in the Tyson meatpacking plant in Waterloo. He also says he’s concerned that the increased caseload will overwhelm the area hospitals and clinics. “So just at the time when Black Hawk County is starting to surge, I can no longer get PPE for my healthcare providers. This is a horrible time for this to happen and for this to be attributable to one location, to one isolated business, really, really frustrates me.”

Thompson says county officials visited the Tyson plant last Friday to monitor sanitation procedures. He says he believes it was quote “too little, too late.”  There is no word on whether the Waterloo Tyson plant will shut down because it has been designated as an essential business.

Gov. Reynolds announced Thursday that the State Health Department is sending 1,500 test kits to the Waterloo Tyson plant.

11:57 a.m. - The Northeast region of Iowa will have stricter stay-at-home measures starting at 11:59 p.m. April 16

The region includes Cedar Rapids, Waterloo and Dubuque. Residents will only be allowed to gather with members of their own household with some exceptions for up to 10 person gatherings for weddings, funerals and religious groups.

Gov. Kim Reynolds says that region reached 10 points on her 12 point scale for guiding COVID-19 mitigation measures. “This is due in large part to the long-term care facility outbreaks, the severity of the illness and the rate of hospitalization. But it also takes into account the increase of virus activity in that area of the state.”  

The order doesn’t include new restrictions for businesses. They’ve already been encouraged to let people work from home and promote social distancing in the workplace, but some workers say there aren’t enough safety precautions.

11:23 a.m. – A new report has found cuts to public health funding has made Iowa more vulnerable to public health emergencies.

The report by the nonprofit, Trust for America’s Health, gave Iowa a four out of ten for its preparedness for disease, disaster and bioterrorism.

Nadine Gracia is the Vice President for Trust for America’s Health. She says Iowa has lost a lot of funding from cuts to federal programs, which supplies more than half of the state’s public health funding. Gracia says the effects can be seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. “What's happening now is that where you see challenges, whether it's in the number of workforce that's available. And that much of that is because we haven't had as a nation that sustained investment in public health.”

Gracia says it’s up to policymakers to make sure public health programs are funded.

11:00 a.m. - Gov. Reynolds hosts press conference 


8:47 a.m. – Shutdowns brought on by the coronavirus outbreak continue to drive jobless claims in Iowa

According to Iowa Workforce Development, 46,356 Iowa workers filed for unemployment assistance last week.

Over the last four weeks 214,033 people filed initial unemployment claims. That number includes people who live out of state but claim unemployment for jobs in Iowa.

Workers in the health care and social services sector accounted for the largest number of filings, followed by manufacturing and retail.

7:01 a.m. – The State of Iowa is working to ensure protections for food processing facility workers

Gov. Reynolds said at a press conference that the state will be sending an additional 900 COVID-19 tests to the Tyson Food plant in Louisa County, which has had nearly 200 workers test positive so far. The state previously sent 200 tests to the facility.

Gov. Reynolds said she also has been in contact with some of the state’s other meat processing facilities about taking preventative measures.

They, for the most part, are trying to be proactive in providing the right kind of protective gear to doing assessments on the front end to doing temperature scans.

Iowa has 18 packing and food processing plants. Gov. Reynolds says other plants will receive tests as well, but it’s unclear when or how many.

Wednesday, April 15

5:16 p.m. – Latino and black Iowans disproportionately represented among COVID-19 cases

Newly released information shows Latino and black Iowans make up a disproportionate number of COVID-19 cases in the state.

17.3 percent of Iowans confirmed to have coronavirus are Hispanic or Latino and 9.2 percent are black. Iowa’s population is only 6.2 percent Hispanic or Latino and 4 percent black.

Read more about this story from Katarina Sostaric.

4:29 p.m. - Congresswoman Abby Finkenhauer appearing on #RivertoRiver Thursday

Do you have a question for 1st District Congresswoman Abby Finkenhauer? She's talking with Iowa Public Radio's Ben Kieffer at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 16. Email your question for her to the River to River team at rivertoriver@iowapublicradio.org.

4:17 p.m. - COVID-19 spreading in Louisa County

The new coronavirus is spreading faster in Louisa County than anywhere else in Iowa. According to a Washington Post analysis, as of Wednesday, the county in southeast Iowa has a higher rate of transmission than New York City, a national epicenter of COVID-19.

The county is home to just 11,000 people, many of them immigrants. Pastor Benjamin Sang Bawi leads a Burmese congregation in Columbus Junction and says he’s been praying for his church members.

“Our church…we have to pray for the state. We have to pray for the nation. We have to pray for our church members. They’re really concerned about it,” he says.

Sick patients who need direct care may have to travel elsewhere because Louisa County does not have a hospital. More than 180 cases there are linked to the Tyson meat processing plant in Columbus Junction.

3:16 p.m. – Pork producers feel the impacts of two large food processing plants shutting down

Workers at Tyson Foods in southeast Iowa and Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls, South Dakota tested positive for COVID-19, which halted work at both plants.

Iowa State University livestock economist Lee Schulz says it’s likely wholesale and retail prices could go up because of the limited availability of certain products. “At the same time, this limited processing capacity is limiting demand for slaughter animals and pushing those farm level prices lower and continuing to back up the supply chain because those animals that are intended for slaughter now are staying on the farm.”

Marv Van Den Top, of Boyden, sells about 1,500 hogs a week to be harvested at the Smithfield plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Now he has no place to bring them. He says it’s pretty devastating. “Other plants are all running at capacity and I can’t get them in anywhere else to have them harvested.” He says he’s changing his pigs’ diet to try to slow their growth. But if producers have their hogs on site longer, their quality could decrease.

Hog prices this week have declined 25 percent compared to late January.

12:51 p.m. - 96 more cases, four more COVID-19 deaths reported

State officials have confirmed 96 additional cases of COVID-19 in Iowa, bringing the state’s total to 1,995 confirmed cases.

New cases: 96 Confirmed cases: 1,995 Deaths: 53

Four additional deaths from the virus were also reported. They are two adults between 61 and 80 in Allamakee and Johnson counties and two adults who were at least 81 in Polk and Clayton counties. A total of 53 Iowans have died from the virus.

Another long-term care facilityhas a confirmed outbreak. That facility is Wilton Retirement Community in Muscatine County, bringing the total number of long term care facilities with outbreaks to seven.

So far, 17,874 negative tests have been conducted at state and national labs to date. 171 Iowans are currently hospitalized with the virus.

Read more about outbreaks at long-term care facilities via Kate Payne and Katarina Sostaric.

 11:00 a.m. - Gov. Reynolds hosts daily press conference 


9:23 a.m. - State makes more data available about COVID-19 cases 

State officials made more COVID-19 data available Tuesday with a new dashboard on Iowa’s coronavirus information website.

In addition to previously available information about case numbers by county, deaths and hospitalizations, the new display includes long term care facility outbreaks, race and ethnicity data, county-level testing data, ventilator and ICU bed availability, and the age ranges of people with confirmed cases in each county.

The website also shows an updated map reflecting the six-region point system Iowa officials say they are using to guide mitigation strategies.

Tuesday, April 14

4:51 p.m. – State’s largest hospital drastically limits visitors starting April 15

The state’s largest hospital will begin drastically limiting visitors beginning Wednesday, in an effort to lower the risk of spreading the new coronavirus.

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics will be suspending visitors for most adult patients. UIHC Chief Medical Officer Theresa Brennan says there will be exceptions.

“There are predetermined exceptions to this, for women who are in labor with an impending delivery and for patients who come to our emergency room. Pediatric patients will be allowed one visitor per day and that must be a parent or a legal guardian,” Brennan says.

Exceptions will also be made for patients in critical care and those facing end of life decisions. Even those patients will be allowed just one visitor.

Read more via Kate Payne.

4:42 p.m. – Gov. Reynolds in conversation with neighboring states about reopening business

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says she has been talking with leaders from neighboring states about how to reopen businesses and lift other restrictions related to COVID-19.

Reynolds says she expects governors to agree on which numbers should be used to guide that decision, but added that the timing is likely to be different in each state.

“They’re going to look at it from a regional perspective I would guess and then make those decisions moving forward based on what the metrics are in their states,” Reynolds said. 

California, Oregon and Washington announced this week that they have made a pact to coordinate how they lift stay-at-home orders, although it allows them to go ahead with those plans at different times.

3:43 p.m. – Louisa County pork processing plant has confirmed COVID-19 outbreak

Eighty-six workers at the Tyson Foods pork plant in Columbus Junction have tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Gov. Kim Reynolds says the state sent 200 testing swabs to the plant and will trace the contacts made by workers who test positive. She says Tyson and other meat companies are making their own orders for facemasks and other protective equipment that has been running short for health care workers. “They’re doing everything they can to not only protect the employees but also to continue a really critical piece of our food supply, uh, food supply chain.”

Tyson closed the Columbus Junction plant on April 6. Reynolds says the company currently plans to reopen on Monday. But she says that decision is up to Tyson, not the state.

12:19 p.m. – Cedar Rapids nursing home with more than 100 cases of COVID-19 has a history of not meeting standards for infection control and prevention

An IPR review found numerous instances over more than a decade when Heritage Specialty Care did not meet federal requirements.

State reports show cases of staffers not adequately isolating patients with an infectious disease, not using personal protective gear properly, and not thoroughly cleaning some medical equipment shared between residents.

Hari Sharma researches nursing home management at the University of Iowa, and says the reports show the facility was not prepared for the coronavirus. “Based on the data that we've seen, and also repeat citations over time, it just feels like there is more this facility could have done to address this issue before it started.”

A representative for the facility declined interview requests, but said there is no connection between the past reports and the current outbreak, which has so far killed 17 residents.

Read more via Kate Payne.

11:55 a.m. - State sees largest single day jump in cases due to outbreak at Tyson plant in southeast Iowa

New cases: 189 Confirmed cases: 1,899 Deaths: 49

The state has confirmed 189 new COVID-19 cases in Iowa, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 1,899. There have also been six more deaths. 

The jump in cases marks the largest single day increase by far, and during a press conference, Gov. Reynolds explained that the jump is due to an outbreak at a Tyson processing plant in Columbus Junction in southeast Iowa. 

Governor Kim Reynolds says the state sent 200 testing swabs to the plant and will trace the contacts made by workers who test positive. She says Tyson and other meat companies are making their own orders for facemasks and other protective equipment that has been running short for health care workers.

"They’re doing everything they can to not only protect the employees but also to continue a really critical piece of our food supply, uh, food supply chain," Reynolds said. 

Tyson closed the Columbus Junction plant on April 6. Reynolds says the company currently plans to reopen on Monday. But she says that decision is up to Tyson, not the state. 

As of Monday evening, there were 163 Iowans hospitalized due to the virus, and 790 Iowans have recovered. To date, there have been 17,467 negative tests. 

11:30 a.m. - Gov. Reyonolds hosts daily COVID-19 press conference


Monday, April 13

7:16 p.m. – Some small business owners worry about paying small loans back if business closures are extended

Small businesses that are shut down as a precaution against COVID-19 can use federal loans to keep paying workers. To have these loans forgiven under the CARES Act, small businesses must either keep workers on for 8 weeks after getting the money or rehire laid off workers before the end of June.

Bryce Smith, co-owner of a bowling alley and restaurant in Adel, kept his full-time staff at work. Now he’s worried the business closures may outlast the loan. “If the proclamation extends more than 8-10 weeks from when we receive the money, how do we get that forgiven if we can’t hire on those people to reopen?”

At least 75 percent of the loan must be used on payroll, otherwise business have to repay a portion of it.

5:42 p.m. – Additional Linn County nursing home has confirmed cases of COVID-19

Local public officials announced Monday that two residents and three staffers at Linn Manor Care Center in Marion have tested positive for COVID-19.

Under state guidelines, this is not considered an official outbreak. But Heather Meador of the Linn County Public Health Department disagrees. “Yes I would consider this an outbreak because there are five individuals that tested positive, two of which have died. So we work with them on a daily basis. We also are in touch with the Iowa Department of Public Health. And we are working with them to help with guidance.”

Another Linn County nursing home, Heritage Specialty Care, has seen more than a hundred confirmed cases. State officials say more than half of Iowa’s deaths are linked to long-term care facilities.

4:53 p.m. – Congresswoman Cindy Axne on a fourth coronavirus relief package

Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne says if federal lawmakers pass a fourth relief package it should include funding to ramp up testing for COVID-19. Coronavirus testing through the Iowa State Hygienic Lab continues to be restricted to groups including older adults and health care workers.

On a call with small business owners, Axne said tests must become widely available in order for restaurants and retail stores to reopen. “We’ve got to be able to test folks. We’ve got to find out who’s immune so we can put people back to work.”

4:50 p.m. - Health officials worried about “quarantine fatigue”

Public health officials in the county with the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 are warning against what they’re calling “quarantine fatigue.” Heather Meador of the Linn County Public Health Department says she’s heard of residents getting tired of being confined to their homes.

But Meador is urging residents to maintain their social distance, saying that lives depend on it.

“We are nowhere near reaching the point where we can safely return to normal activities without risking that this virus will cause people to become sick at a rate that cannot be handled by the healthcare system.”

The vice president of medical affairs at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids says that social distancing is working. Tony Myers said Monday that so far, the practice has kept the case load low enough that his hospital is able to handle the influx of severely sick people.

4:42 p.m. - Iowa DOT allows parents to proctor driving exams

The Iowa Department of Transportation is allowing teens who want to learn to drive to take their instruction permit test at home, with parents or guardians proctoring the exam.  

Darcy Doty with the Iowa DOT says 14-year-olds across the state have been able to take their instruction permit tests in schools. But since school buildings are closed through at least April 30th, they can’t go to those buildings to take the tests.

“So we wanted to make sure students have the opportunity to take that knowledge exam in the comfort of a familiar place, and that right now is their home,” Doty says.

Doty says the DOT trusts parents to administer the exam with integrity. Parents must have a valid driver’s license to administer the test. They have to agree to give the exam in a room where their teen can’t talk to anyone else and can’t use electronic devices

 4:30 p.m. - University of Iowa to develop coronavirus model

The Associated Press reported the state signed a contract with the University of Iowa last week to develop a coronavirus model for Iowa. And the researchers have about two weeks to do that after they receive data from the state.

Public Health Department Deputy Director Sarah Reisetter said Monday they’re “getting ready” to provide patient data.

“Models can be helpful, but they’re not going to necessarily be prescriptive in terms of the actions that we take. So we’re going to continue to look at modeling and look at forecasting because we understand that we’re going to be in this for a while.”

According to the AP, the contract also bars the university from publicly releasing the model for a year unless the state allows it. Governor Kim Reynolds says they’ll release the information “at some point.”

 4:21 p.m. - More than 10 percent of COVID-19 cases long-term care facility residents or staff

Governor Kim Reynolds says 53 percent of Iowa’s COVID-19 deaths are among long-term care facility residents.

A total of 43 Iowans have died as of Monday according to the state. At least 14 of those occurred at one nursing home in Cedar Rapids.  Reynolds says long-term care facilities are a big concern, with more than 10 percent of the state’s cases coming from facility residents and staff.

“Despite significant mitigation measures taken early on, including restricting visitors and screening staff at all shifts, the virus has still been introduced into some facilities resulting in devastating consequences,” Reynolds said.  

The state has confirmed three outbreaks at long-term care facilities by its own definition, but COVID-19 cases have been identified at additional nursing homes and senior living centers.

12:10 p.m. - 123 new cases Monday, 2 more deaths

New Cases: 123 Confirmed Cases: 1,710 Deaths: 43

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 123 additional COVID-19 cases today, bringing the state’s total number of confirmed cases to 1,710 in 82 counties. Testing is still limited and there are likely many more cases in the state.

Two additional deaths were reported, bringing Iowa’s total number of confirmed deaths to 43.

16,986 Iowans have tested negative for COVID-19, according to the state, and 142 Iowans were hospitalized as of yesterday evening.

Governor Kim Reynolds says 741 Iowans have recovered from COVID-19.   

According to IDPH, the two new deaths were among:

  • Linn County, 1 elderly adult (81+)
  • Muscatine County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)

According to IDPH, the locations and age ranges of the 123 individuals include:

  • Allamakee County, 2 adults (18-40 years)
  • Benton County, 1 middle age adult (41-60 years), 2 older adult (61-80 years) 
  • Black Hawk County, 9 adults (18-40 years), 3 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 3 older adults (61-80 years)
  • Bremer County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Buchanan County, 1 middle age adult (41-60 years) 
  • Cass County, 1 middle age adult (41-60 years)
  • Cedar County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Clinton County, 2 adults (18-40 years), 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Des Moines County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Fayette County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Hardin County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Henry County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Jasper County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years), 
  • Johnson County, 3 adults (18-40 years), 3 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Jones County, 2 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 
  • Lee County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Linn County, 5 adults (18-40 years), 5 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 3 older adults (61-80 years), 2 elderly adults (81+)
  • Louisa County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Lyon County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 
  • Mahaska County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years),
  • Marshall County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 4 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Mills County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
  • Muscatine County, 2 adults (18-40 years), 3 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Polk County, 5 adults (18-40 years), 5 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 4 older adults (61-80 years), 1 elderly adult (81+)
  • Scott County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 2 older adults (61-80 years) 
  • Story County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Tama County, 4 adults (18-40 years), 6 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years), 4 elderly adults (81+)
  • Van Buren County, 2 middle-age adults (41-60 years)
  • Wapello County, 2 middle-age adults (41-60 years)
  • Washington County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 5 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 2 older adults (61-80 years)
  • Woodbury County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)

11:00 a.m. - ​Gov. Reynolds hosts 11:00 a.m. press conference


Sunday, April 12

2:20 p.m. – Seven more deaths, 77 new cases confirmed

The state announced 77 additional positive cases of COVID-19 in Iowa Sunday, for a total of 1,587 positive cases. Seven more Iowans have died, bringing the total death toll in the state to 41. So far, there have been 16,005 negative tests to date. The state also noted that today’s results do not reflect a complete 24-hour cycle of testing as IDPH is currently transitioning to new reporting time frames. 

New Cases: 77 Confirmed Cases: 1,587 Deaths: 41

According to IDPH, the seven new deaths were among:

  • Linn County, 2 older adults (61-80 years), 4 elderly adults (81+) 
  • Washington County, 1 elderly adult (81+) 

According to IDPH, the locations and age ranges of the 77 individuals include:

  • Benton County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Black Hawk County, 1 child (0-17 years), 1 adult (18-40 years), 2 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years), 1 elderly (81+)
  • Buchanan County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Clinton County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Des Moines County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
  • Dubuque County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 2 middle-age adults (41-60 years)
  • Jasper County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
  • Johnson County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 7 middle-age adults (41-60 years)
  • Linn County, 2 adults (18-40 years), 3 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 2 older adults (61-80 years), 1 elderly (81+)
  • Louisa County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 5 middle-age adults (41-60 years) 
  • Lyon County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Marshall County, 3 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 
  • Muscatine County, 4 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 2 older adults (61-80 years)
  • Osceola County, 1 middle-age adult (18-40 years)
  • Polk County, 6 adults (18-40 years), 3 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 3 older adults (61-80 years), 2 elderly adult (81+) 
  • Scott County, 3 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80) 
  • Tama County, 2 adults (18-40 years), 6 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years) 
  • Warren County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
  • Washington County, 2 middle-age adults (41-60 years)

The IDPH also reports that 674 Iowans have recovered.
Notable headlines from last week: 

  • 34 Iowans have died due to complications associated with COVID-19.
  • There were 1,510 positive cases as of April 11, according to the governor’s office.
  • While the Governor has not issued a stay-at-home order, she is urging Iowans to stay home and continue to practice social distancing.
  • On Friday, April 10, Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered health care providers to conserve personal protective equipment in anticipation of shortages.
  • Schools, the legislature and many Iowa businesses are closed until April 30.
  • Gatherings of 10 people or more are still prohibited.
  • State park campgrounds and playgrounds have been closed to help slow the spread of the virus.
  • Jobless claims in Iowa continue to skyrocket.
  • The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs announced individual grants for artists and musicians of $1,000. Applications open Monday, April 13. Learn more here.

Case increases

Clay Masters is the senior politics reporter for MPR News.
Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter