Liveblog: 648 Additional COVID-19 Cases Announced; 5 More Deaths

Iowa schools are closed for the rest of the school year, 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 19-25.

Get caught up on the most important headlines from from April 12-18 here.  

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 25

12:16 p.m. – Additional COVID-19 cases announced, setting another highest single-day total

New cases: 648 Confirmed cases: 5,092 Deaths: 112

The Iowa Department of Public Health announced an additional 648 positive cases Saturday, for a total of 5,092 positive cases. There have been an additional 1,730 negative tests for a total of 29,258 negative tests to date, which includes testing reported by the State Hygienic Lab and other labs. The number of positive cases will continue to grow as Test Iowa sites open and additional surveillance testing of large businesses and nursing home staff continues.  

According to IDPH, an additional 5 deaths were also reported, for a total of 112 deaths from COVID-19 in Iowa. The additional 5 deaths were reported in the following counties:

  • Black Hawk County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years) 
  • Johnson County, 1 older adult (61-80 years) 
  • Polk County, 1 older adult (61-80 years), 1 elderly adult (81+)   
  • Scott County, 1 elderly adult (81+)  

293 individuals are currently hospitalized and 1,723 Iowans have recovered.

Friday, April 24

4:52 p.m. - Muscatine County feels effects of nearby outbreaks

The impacts of coronavirus outbreaks at meatpacking plants are being felt throughout the state.

Many of the thousands of employees at Tyson facilities in Waterloo, Columbus Junction and Perry commute from other counties. Confirmed cases related to the facilities are expected to continue to increase in coming days.

Muscatine County has seen dozens of confirmed cases related to the Tyson plant in neighboring Louisa County. Muscatine Public Health Director Christy Roby Williams says the virus is taking a toll.

“The grief is becoming unbearable. It’s difficult for everybody that’s impacted. It’s difficult for the family and friends of the direct individuals, the health care providers, the communities, the public health department, employers,” she said.

Gov. Kim Reynolds said Friday that Muscatine County is slated to get a Test Iowa location, part of her recent push to expand testing in the state. Case numbers near Waterloo are expected to rise in the next few days, as Tyson finishes testing all of the workers at that facility. 

2:49 p.m. - Iowa sees largest increase in cases in single day as Gov. Reynolds prepares to relax some closures

As Iowa sees its largest number of new coronavirus cases and deaths in a single day, the governor is relaxing restrictions on hospitals and talking about reopening parts of the state.

Gov. Kim Reynolds says starting Monday, hospitals and surgery centers across the state can resume elective surgeries and procedures if they meet certain requirements. They’ve been banned for a month to preserve personal protective equipment for health care workers treating COVID-19 patients.

“Iowa has not experienced the health care surge other states have. And as you’ve seen daily, our ICU beds, vents are well managed and in good supply,” Reynolds said.

But state officials say coronavirus cases and deaths will keep increasing in the coming weeks. And there’s still a PPE shortage order in effect that instructs providers to re-use protective gear.

Reynolds says she’s taking a targeted approach to opening up Iowa, but farmers markets across the state are also allowed to open if they follow social distancing guidelines.

12:15 p.m. - 521 new cases, 11 more deaths announced

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 521 additional COVID-19 cases and 11 more deaths Friday, the biggest single-day increases yet.

New cases: 521 Confirmed cases: 4,445 Deaths: 107

Iowa has 4,445 confirmed coronavirus cases, and 107 Iowans have died. Lag time in the state’s reporting system means these are the known numbers as of 10 a.m. Thursday.

Gov. Kim Reynolds says 30 percent of the cases are linked to manufacturing, and 15 percent are in health care workers. 278 Iowans were hospitalized, and state officials say more than 1600 Iowans have recovered from COVID-19.

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

8:48 a.m. - Black Hawk County to get Test Iowa site

As confirmed cases of the new coronavirus soar in Black Hawk County, local officials announced they will soon get a new Test Iowa site.

The expansion in testing is part of an effort by Governor Kim Reynolds, who signed a 26 million dollar contract with a Utah-based company. A new Test Iowa site will be located in Waterloo, which has been hard-hit by the virus, due to an outbreak at a Tyson meat-packing plant.

Lorie Glover is the coordinator of Black Hawk County Emergency Management.

“We are looking at getting a Test Iowa site in Waterloo and that site should be here early next week and be ready to go for operations,” Glover said.

As of Thursday afternoon, Black Hawk County had 622 confirmed cases of the virus. County officials estimate that 90 percent of the cases are linked to the Tyson facility. 

 

8:45 a.m. - Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs opens round two COVID-19 relief funding for artists

The Iowa Arts Council is accepting applications for a second round of emergency grants April 24 through May 1 from all Iowa arts and cultural organizations that meet the following criteria:

  • Have existed for at least three years
  • Maintain a 501(c)3 nonprofit status and
  • Had an operating budget of at least $10,000 during the past fiscal year.

Funding for this second round of grants comes from the National Endowment of the Arts, through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The grants are intended to help save jobs in the arts sector and keep the doors open to thousands of cultural organizations that add value to America’s economy and the creative life of its communities.

The details and the application are available at iowaculture.gov.

8:45 a.m. – More than $191,000 awarded to relieve Iowa’s cultural sector during pandemic

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs has awarded $191,000 in grants to Iowa artists and small nonprofit arts organizations in its first round of relief grants provided by the Iowa Arts & Culture Emergency Relief Fund, which was established to provide financial support to offset lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first round grants were limited to artists and small not-for-profit arts organizations.

156 Iowa artists and creative workers each received a $1,000 award to support their artistic career. In addition, 14 Iowa nonprofit arts organizations each received a $2,500 grant to support their operations. A total of 285 applications were received by the IDCA.

Applicants cited a range of financial losses resulting from canceled performances, festivals, residencies, commissions, teaching opportunities and more. Organizations lost revenue from admissions and gift-shop sales, as well as canceled classes, programs and fundraising events.

Thursday, April 23

 5:32 p.m. - Iowa Gov. says Ashton Kutcher linked her to tech companies for COVID-19 testing partnership

Gov. Kim Reynolds said Thursday that actor and Iowa native Ashton Kutcher first connected her with the companies the state is paying $26 million in a no-bid contract to expand coronavirus testing through the Test Iowa initiative.

On Tuesday, Reynolds announced the state contracted with Nomi Health, with involvement from Domo and Qualtrics, to set up an online assessment and drive-thru test sites with the goal of testing 3,000 additional Iowans each day.

Read more via Katarina Sostaric and Natalie Krebs. 

1:04 p.m. - State reports 176 new COVID-19 cases Thursday

New cases: 176 Confirmed cases: 3,942 Deaths: 96

Iowa officials are reporting an additional 176 confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s total to 3,942 cases; 29 percent of cases are people who work in manufacturing facilities and 16 percent of cases are health care workers.

Six more Iowans have died from the virus. So far, 96 Iowans have died from complications related to COVID-19. More than half have been residents at long-term care facilities. State and national labs have performed more than 25,000 negative tests to date.

11:00 a.m. - Gov. Reynolds hosts daily COVID-19 press conference

9:25 a.m. – The number of new unemployment claims fell last week in Iowa but the impact of COVID-19 continues to outpace any other recent financial crisis

27,912 Iowa workers filed initial claims for unemployment assistance, including people who work in Iowa but live outside the state. That’s down from more than 46,000 the previous week.

The most new claims came from the manufacturing sector, followed by health care and the category that includes self-employed workers.

More than 150,000 people are currently receiving unemployment assistance in Iowa.  That’s more than double the number at the peak of the Great Recession.

5:15 a.m. – Iowa voters can begin early voting in the June primary election starting Thursday

Secretary of State Paul Pate is encouraging Iowans to vote from home to reduce the risk of spreading the new coronavirus. Pate’s office is mailing about 2 million absentee ballot request forms to active registered  voters. “We’re not doing what you call vote-by-mail where everyone just gets mailed a blank ballot, like a blank check. What we’re doing is giving people an opportunity to request their ballot.”

The forms should be arriving in mailboxes next week. Pate says he does not foresee a situation where he would need to change the June 2 primary date because of COVID-19.

Wednesday, April 22

3:56 p.m. – More coronavirus tests going to Waterloo

Gov. Kim Reynolds says the state will send more coronavirus tests to Waterloo, where an outbreak at a now-closed meatpacking plant is driving a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Local public health officials said earlier this week they asked the state health department for more supplies to enable them to test people without symptoms. When asked about this Tuesday, Reynolds said she hadn’t heard that request.

Reynolds mentioned the issue again Wednesday: “We’ll be working with the Tyson plant in Waterloo and we will be testing all their employees there. I think they’re anticipating starting that on Friday.”

The state originally sent 1,500 tests to three clinics in Black Hawk County for people who fit the health department’s limited coronavirus test criteria. The Tyson plant there has nearly 3,000 employees. 

3:17 p.m. – More than 80,000 people use online assessment through TestIowa.com in first 24 hours

The state is contracting with a Utah company to use the site to coordinate additional testing for COVID-19.

The program is supposed to eventually allow for up to 3,000 tests per day. From the first batch of people who took the assessment, Reynolds says around 240 were signed up for testing so far. She says priority will go to those who have symptoms of the coronavirus or were in contact with someone who tested positive. “This again will help us kind of understand the scope and spread of the virus and help make see if our workforce has symptoms, we can get them the test and get them back online.”

Reynolds encouraged first responders and other essential workers to fill out the form. The first drive-through event organized through TestIowa.com will happen Saturday at a parking lot outside the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.

3:16 p.m. - The Iowa Department of Corrections has announced 10 more inmates at a prison in Coralville have tested positive for COVID-19

A total of 12 people incarcerated at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center, or IMCC, and three staff members there have tested positive.

A news release from the corrections department says they started expanding testing there on Tuesday. It’s first focused on inmates who arrived from county jails and are housed in a quarantine unit, and on staff who work in that area.

Then testing is expected to expand to other areas of the prison.

A few inmates have been tested at five other state prisons, but IMCC remains the only prison facility with confirmed cases.

This week, Corrections Director Beth Skinner said the DOC is working to reduce the population in the state’s overcrowded prisons to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

12:53 p.m. – State announces 107 additional cases of COVID-19, 7 additional deaths

New cases: 107 Confirmed cases: 3,748 Deaths: 90

Iowa added 107 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wednesday’s update from the Department of Public Health, bringing the state to 3,748 overall.

A total of 90 Iowans have died after 7 more deaths were reported in Black Hawk, Linn, Muscatine, Tama and Woodbury counties.

272 people are currently hospitalized.

Gov. Kim Reynolds reported another long-term care center is having an outbreak of COVID-19, St. Francis Manor in Grinnell. Outbreaks have now been reported at 11 long-term care facilities across the state.

12:44 p.m. - The Iowa Department of Public Health is setting up a location in Tama County to test long-term care workers for COVID-19

Health officials expect around 200 people to visit the site while it’s open Wednesday and Thursday.

Deputy director, Sarah Reisetter, says nurses at the site will collect samples for serology testing, which can detect antibodies created when someone is infected by the virus. “The serology testing will help us learn more about how many people have already been infected and were either asymptomatic and did not know they had contracted the virus or experience mild illness and were able to recover.”

Premier Estates, in Toledo, is one of eleven long-term care centers in Iowa reported to have an outbreak of the coronavirus.

11:28 a.m. – Winnebago Industries cancels its annual Winnebago National Rally

Another summertime tradition in Iowa is taking a year off to protect people from the new coronavirus pandemic.

Officials at Winnebago Industries in Forest City say the 51st Annual Winnebago National Rally scheduled for mid-July is being cancelled.

The event typically draws around a thousand recreational vehicle enthusiasts to the 87-acre campground next to the Winnebago motorhome manufacturing plant for a week of activities.

11:00 a.m. Gov. Reynolds hosts daily COVID-19 press conference

9:54 a.m. – Iowa bars and restaurants project permanent closures

Ten percent of Iowa bars and restaurants say they will close permanently if they are not able to at least partially reopen by May 1. By July 1, 1-in-4 say they would not be able to reopen. That’s according to an Iowa Restaurant Association survey looking into the impact of COVID-19 closures on its members.

Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered restaurants to close to dine-in customers on March 17. Since then, nearly 90 percent of bars and restaurants say they have laid off or furloughed workers. In the month of April alone, the group says Iowa restaurants could lose more than $300 million in sales.

8:55 a.m. - Tyson Foods indefinitely suspends Waterloo operations

The facility, the company’s largest pork plant, has been running at reduced levels of production due to worker absenteeism, and will stop production mid-week until further notice. 

Affected Waterloo team members will continue to be compensated while the plant is closed. The timing of resumption of operations will depend on a variety of factors, including the outcome of team member testing for COVID-19. 

Tyson Foods’ other meat and poultry plants currently continue to operate, but some are running at reduced levels of production either due to the planned implementation of additional worker safety precautions or worker absenteeism. 

Tuesday, April 21

5:12 p.m. – Ethanol industry will not receive COVID-19 relief from the USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will split its coronavirus relief money between direct payments to farmers and buying food it will distribute to the hungry.

Even many farmers who aren’t eligible for major farm subsidy programs likely will get a piece of the $16 billion direct payments pie. But Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was blunt about the fact that there’s nothing directly for ethanol. 

Frankly, at this point there's just not enough money to go around. The demand from all of the sectors was even more than we could accommodate. - Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue

Iowa Farmers Union President Aaron Lehman is not surprised. “I think it shows a real neglect of the industry.”

And that’s especially unfortunate, he says, because farmers built the ethanol industry and many are very invested in it. Ethanol production has been cut in half during the pandemic. And it was coming off a couple of bad years already.

Read more of this story from IPR's Amy Mayer.

4:25 p.m. – Many farmers will be eligible for direct payments while navigating the COVID-19 economy

The Department of Agriculture says farmers will receive $16 billion across many sectors of the ag economy including grains, dairy, meat and produce. But it will take time to get the program set up.

Iowa Farmers Union president Aaron Lehman says it’s important to ensure all eligible farmers know what to do. 

We want to make sure that farmers on the ground know how they can get help, and the help at least gets them to a place where the can make some good decisions on their farm continuing into the future. - Iowa Farmers Union president Aaron Lehman

Lehman adds that producers who sell at farmers markets or directly to restaurants have been hit especially hard and some of them may not be familiar with USDA farm payment programs.

3:33 p.m. - Black Hawk County Board of Health formally calls for the temporary closure of the Tyson meat processing plant in Waterloo

Local public health officials say an outbreak at the facility has led to soaring increases in cases of the new coronavirus.

At an emergency meeting Tuesday, board member and physician Adam Froyum Roise said he’s heard a number of complaints from Tyson employees, many of whom are immigrants and refugees. “I talked to people yesterday who, who come in as sick and have tested covid positive and do say they have not received a single piece of communication from Tyson or from anybody else on what they’re supposed to do, about what they’re supposed to do about work, whether they go back to work. It just seems there is a complete lack of communication. And this is among people who speak English as a first language.”

The county says due to the public health emergency, it’s Gov. Kim Reynolds who has the legal authority to close the plant. The governor has said she wants to keep the plant open in order to continue moving hogs from Iowa farms to consumers. 

1:59 p.m. – Sioux City Police Department announces that nine staff members tested positive for COVID-19

According to a news release, the staff members include the police chief, a captain, two lieutenants, a sergeant, an officer and three civilian staff members. All of these employees worked near each other in two offices of the police headquarters. They were not in the types of jobs that would be going out into the public to respond to complaints or make arrests.

The Sioux City Police Department says that since the nine cases were confirmed no one else in the department has tested positive for COVID-19.

The police department first announced the positive cases almost two weeks ago, but didn’t say then how many staff members had been confirmed to have the virus.

1:41 p.m. – State announces 482 additional cases of COVID-19, 4 additional deaths

Iowa officials have reported 482 additional COVID-19 cases Tuesday, bringing the state’s total number of confirmed cases to 3,641. Eighty-four counties have confirmed cases.

New cases: 482 Confirmed cases: 3,641 Deaths: 83

It’s by far the biggest one-day increase in cases, and more than 100 of the new cases are in Black Hawk County, where a meatpacking plant is driving a coronavirus surge.

Four additional deaths were reported, bringing Iowa’s total number of confirmed deaths to 83.

214 Iowans were hospitalized yesterday. State officials say 1,293 Iowans have recovered from COVID-19.

1:32 p.m. – State officials have announced a public-private effort to expand coronavirus testing

Gov. Kim Reynolds is encouraging Iowans to visit https://www.testiowa.com/ to take an assessment. Reynolds says it’ll notify people if they qualify for a COVID-19 test and will schedule them for a test at a drive-thru location. The first site is expected to open in Des Moines Saturday, but it’s not clear when others will open or where they’ll be.

Reynolds says it’ll eventually allow the state to process an additional 3,000 tests each day. “As the tests come in, they’ll start to look at the data and see where the majority of Iowans are at, and then we will be able to react to that. We will be able to set up in areas all across the state…we’re gonna focus initially on our essential workforce.”

The state contracted with private companies to do this, and intends to use federal coronavirus relief funds to pay for it. Reynolds says patients won’t have to pay for their test, and she says personal data will be protected.

11:00 a.m. – UnityPoint Health announces cuts to staff hours and pay

UnityPoint Health, which is headquartered in West Des Moines, announced Tuesday that it will be furloughing or reducing hours for staff in departments that are closed or not operating at capacity. It will also reduce executive pay by 15 percent. The changes go into effect on Sunday.

The non-profit health system says it has experienced “unprecedented challenges and volume declines as a result of the global pandemic.”

Gov. Kim Reynolds has suspended all non-essential medical procedures through the end of the month.

11:00 a.m. Gov. Reynolds hosts daily COVID-19 press conference

Monday, April 20

5:03 p.m. – Public health officials say cases of the new coronavirus are surging in Black Hawk County

Black Hawk County public health officials say they’re seeing a surge in COVID-19 patients, and they say a Tyson meat processing plant is the cause.

As of Monday, the Tyson facility in Waterloo is still operating. That’s despite pleas from workers, advocates, and elected officials, who say managers aren’t adequately protecting employees from the new coronavirus.

County Public Health Director Nafissa Cisse-Egbuonye says more than 90 percent of the county’s cases have been reported since an outbreak was identified at Tyson. “One of the things that we are receiving is just communication from employees themself not feeling safe. And so I can’t speak on behalf of Tyson or Gov. Reynolds but I do know that we here at Black Hawk County have seen the surge because of Tyson.”

Local officials have said only the company and Gov. Kim Reynolds have the legal authority to close the plant. The governor said Monday her goal is to keep meat processing plants open, in order to sustain the food supply chain.

4:55 p.m. – Waterloo lawmakers want the Tyson meatpacking plant there to close temporarily

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds says she won’t close the meatpacking plant that’s connected to at least 150 coronavirus cases in northeast Iowa.

Representative Ras Smith, a Democrat from Waterloo, is one of the lawmakers calling for the plant to close. He says it doesn’t make sense for a few potential bad actors to counteract the hard work everyone else is doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. “It’s counterproductive for the governor to tell everyone to stay home, but then allow this kind of insidious behavior.”

Smith says he understands Reynolds’ concerns about the food supply chain, but taking action sooner will work better to help keep it going.

Of the two other packing plants with outbreaks, one has re-opened and the other remains closed.

2:56 p.m. - A deputy assigned to the Linn County Correctional Center has tested positive for the new coronavirus

The county sheriff’s office says the staffer spiked a 102 degree fever at work on April 16 and hasn’t returned since.

After working with the county public health department, officials say eleven other staffers had close contact with the deputy. They have been notified and will continue working unless they show symptoms, in line with state public health guidelines.

The county says no inmates were exposed to the virus by the deputy.

2:28 p.m. – Iowa casinos are reporting a loss of about 54 percent in revenue from this time last year

Income for the month of March was down 3 percent after many were ordered closed in the middle of the month.

Iowa Racing and Gaming Association Administrator Brian Ohorilko says the March income figures are grim but April’s will likely look much worse. “The casinos reported a decline of revenue year over year of about 54 percent all related to the last two weeks of being closed, and overall for the year, month end March 31st, we’re seeing the industry down about 3 percent.”

Ohorilko says prior to the mandatory shutdown in March, revenue looked promising, especially with the availability of sports betting.  He says many professional teams were just beginning their season and patrons were anxious to place bets. 

All of state’s nineteen casinos are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. All but four have furloughed their workers.

2:33 p.m. – Gov. Kim Reynolds does not plan to close a Waterloo meat packing facility

Gov. Reynolds said she’s been speaking with management teams at facilities across the state, including the Tyson plant in Waterloo, to ensure they’re protecting their workers.

But she said it’s important to keep the plants up and running because they’re essential. “We should all be working on finding solutions to making sure that we are doing infectious control policies that we're making sure that the workforce is protected, and most importantly, that we're keeping that food supply chain moving.”

Several state Democratic lawmakers called for the temporary closing of the Waterloo plant this weekend to increase safety protections after several workers tested positive for the virus.

COVID-19 outbreaks at facilities in Tama and Louisa counties have affected hundreds of workers and caused at least two deaths.

2:12 p.m. - State officials say they’re working to reduce Iowa’s prison population as a precaution against COVID-19

At a press conference Monday, Iowa Department of Corrections Director Beth Skinner said they’ve released 482 inmates and approved the release of an additional 90 into community-based programs. “We are exercising options to keep these individuals in their communities as long as they do not pose an imminent public safety risk.”

Skinner says the state’s prisons currently have just over 8,300 inmates, the lowest number in nearly three years.

The state reported its first positive COVID-19 case of an inmate in Johnson County this weekend. Two staff members have also tested positive for the virus.

2:06 p.m. – Meredith Corporation cuts salaries

The nation’s largest magazine publisher is temporarily reducing pay for around 60 percent of its workforce because of sagging ad sales caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those due to see smaller paychecks until at least September include the company’s top executives.

In addition, Meredith says it is suspending common stock dividends, withdrawing its fiscal 2020 forecast and slowing capital spending. Meredith president and CEO Tom Harty says, “The actions we are taking do not come lightly, but are necessary to strengthen our liquidity and enhance our financial stability.” The company publishes more than twenty magazines and operates seventeen TV stations.

12:16 p.m. - State announces 257 additional cases of COVID-19, 4 additional deaths

Iowa officials have reported an additional 257 confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the current state total to 3,159.

New cases: 257 Confirmed cases: 3,159 Deaths: 79

Officials also confirmed four additional deaths from COVID-19. So far, 79 Iowans have died from the virus. Nearly half of all the state’s deaths have been in long term care facilities.

There have also been two additional confirmed outbreaks at Bishop Drumm Retirement Center in Polk County and at Iowa Premium National Beef in Tama County.

214 Iowans are currently hospitalized with the virus. There have been more than 22,000 negative tests to date.

11:08 a.m. – RAGBRAI will not happen in 2020 due to COVID-19

The 48th annual ride was scheduled for the last week of July, starting in Le Mars and ending in Clinton. Organizers said in a statement that they didn’t want to put the crew, riders or residents along the route at risk for spreading the virus. Instead, the same route and stopover towns will be part of next year’s event.

Riders who registered for RAGBRAI can request a refund, put it toward next year’s ride or donate the amount to the Iowa Bicycle Coalition.

Former RAGBRAI staffers who planned a competing event called Iowa’s Ride say they will wait to announce their decision for this year.

11:00 a.m. Gov. Reynolds hosts daily COVID-19 press conference

Sunday, April 19

12:40 p.m. - State announces 389 more cases of COVID-19, 1 additional death 

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced 389 new cases of COVID-19 in the state Sunday and one additional death. That brings the state’s total number of cases to 2,902.

New cases: 389 Confirmed cases: 2,902 Deaths: 75

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, the additional death was of an older adult between the ages of 61-80 in Muscatine County.

There are 198 Iowans hospitalized, and 1,171 have recovered from the novel coronavirus.

The state attributed 261 of the 389 new cases Sunday to new cases discovered while testing employees of the state’s meat processing facilities.

11:05 a.m. - First inmate tests positite for COVID-19

The Iowa Department of Corrections has identified the first positive case of COVID-19 among its inmate population.

The individual who tested positive arrived to the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville on Thursday, April 16 and while under observation started showing symptoms of the virus. Upon receiving confirmation of a positive test, the DOC reports thorough contact tracing to identify other exposed inmates and staff is being conducted.

The inmate is currently in medical isolation, and is reported to be an adult between the ages of 18-40 years old.

Notable headlines from last week: 

  • 74 Iowans have died due to complications associated with COVID-19 as of Saturday, April 18. 
  • As of Saturday, April 18, there were 2,513 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Iowa.
  • While the Governor has not issued a formal stay-at-home order, she did issue stricter guidance for Iowans who live in northeast Iowa on Thursday as the region reached a rating of '10' on the state's mitigation map. 

  • 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.
  • On Friday, April 17, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that K-12 schools would remain closed for the duration of the spring semester. 

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