As Iowans try to maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, more families are facing issues related to child custody arrangements.

Courtesy of Steve Reno

Some older Iowans who spend part of the year in Florida are having to decide where they’ll be safer from the new coronavirus. Now’s the time when many are choosing whether to come back to Iowa or ride out the crisis where they are.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds holds a news conference regarding COVID-19 at the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston, Iowa, Monday, April 6, 2020.
Olivia Sun / The Des Moines Registers via AP, pool

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Monday that two more long-term care centers are working to contain outbreaks of COVID-19 among residents and staff. She did not name the centers, but said one is in Tama County and another is in Washington County. That follows news last week that an outbreak was in progress at Heritage Specialty Care in Cedar Rapids.

Amy Mayer / IPR file

One of the country’s largest ethanol producers has idled three plants and postponed the opening of a fourth. 

POET posted a statement on its website saying bioprocessing at the locations in Chancellor, South Dakota and in Coon Rapids and Ashton, Iowa has stopped. Another plant in Shelbyville, Indiana was on track to open this spring but that is now on hold.

Madeleine King/Iowa Public Radio

We've received lots of questions about coronavirus, COVID-19, PPE, social distancing and what this means for us individually and for the economy. In fact, we've had many of the same questions as you. 

To help understand what we need to know, we've reached out to medical experts from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics about the novel coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease. 

Midwest Dairy

When COVID-19 forced the shuttering of schools and food service establishments, it caused a disruption in the supply chain for dairy farmers, including those in Iowa.

Farmer Relations Manager for Midwest Dairy, Mitch Schulte explained suddenly there was little or no demand for things like individual cartons of milk and 25-pound bags of shredded cheese.

He said this oversupply has producers looking for a home for their products.

Thousands of Americans have died from COVID-19, and many more still will. The elderly are especially vulnerable, as are people with underlying health conditions. So doctors and health experts are telling people to plan ahead and talk to their family about a difficult topic: how they want to die.

Deep Concern For Some Iowa Hospitals’ Viability After COVID-19 Crisis

Apr 6, 2020
Lyle Muller / IowaWatch

Some Iowa hospitals ramping up their efforts to treat COVID-19 victims will not survive the pandemic without an infusion of cash, the head of the professional association for those hospitals said.

Brian Powers / The Des Moines Register via AP, Pool

Iowa businesses, school districts and citizens continue to respond to the escalating COVID-19 pandemic. We'll be posting updates as more news regarding the spread of the virus in Iowa becomes available here for the week of April 5-11. 

Iowa Department of Public Health

Editor's Note: This post has been updated to reflect the updated map released by state health officials on Monday, April 6.

Gov. Kim Reynolds and public health officials this week described their six-region point system to guide their decisions about COVID-19 mitigation strategies.

Univeristy of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics sign
Jon Farvel / Flickr

A clinical trial is now underway at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics to test an experimental drug to treat COVID-19. Some previous laboratory tests of the anti-viral drug remdesivir have been promising, but its safety and efficacy in clinical settings is still unproven.

Hush Naidoo / Unsplash

The Iowa Board of Medicine voted unanimously at an emergency meeting Friday to call on Gov. Kim Reynolds to issue a formal shelter-in-place order.

At least thirty-eight other states already have an order that requires people to only leave their home if necessary.


Gov. Kim Reynolds Thursday ordered Iowa K-12 schools to remain closed through April 30 and asked school districts to submit plans for offering instruction during part of that time.

She originally recommended on March 15 that schools close until April 13 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But state officials this week said Iowa could reach the peak of new coronavirus cases in two to three weeks.

Penn State via Flickr creative commons /

Refugee and immigrant-led organizations in Iowa are banding together to provide information on COVID-19 in ten different languages. The resources include public health information and advice on how to cope with our new reality in the age of coronavirus.

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Iowa and the small number of other states without any formal shelter-in-place order can now be counted on one hand. On this episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer is joined by reporters from across the Midwest to get a better idea of how COVID-19 is being handled in the region.

Restaurants are no longer serving dine-in meals, like The Continental in Des Moines.
John Pemble / IPR file photo

The number of Iowa workers seeking unemployment assistance grew at a faster pace last week as 58,453 people filed claims with Iowa Workforce Development. That adds up to 100,343 initial unemployment claims over two weeks as the state expanded business closures to ease the severity of the coronavirus outbreak.

Courtesy of Knoxville Hospital and Clinics

A growing number of clinics around Iowa have adopted curbside or drive-thru testing for COVID-19 and other health needs. This helps reduce the risk of exposing a patient who might have COVID-19 to other people and limits the number of people who actually go inside a health center for care.

Christopher Gannon / courtesy of ISU

Architecture students at Iowa State University are using design and fabrication skills honed in the Computation and Construction Lab to support healthcare workers in Iowa during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most of the campus is quiet as classes are on-line and faculty and staff are expected to work from home. But a handful of undergraduates has permission to work in staggered shifts to create face shields. They responded to an invitation from assistant professor of architecture Shelby Doyle.

University of Iowa
University of Iowa

Classes are back in session at Iowa colleges and universities this week. But in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, classes are being held online. The process of going virtual is presenting challenges for students and faculty at the University of Iowa.

kim reynolds
John Pemble / IPR

The state of Iowa is not establishing new COVID-19 precautions even as the head of the Centers for Disease Control points to evidence that people with no symptoms can spread the virus.

The CDC director said in a recent interview with an NPR affiliate that up to 25 percent of infected people may be asymptomatic, and that COVID-19 appears to be about three times as infectious as the flu.

Special to IPR

The United States' timeline for social distancing now stretches through at least the end of April, according to the latest recommendations from the White House coronavirus task force. While the world adjusts to the new normal, many parents face the added challenge of finding ways to keep their kids engaged while waiting to return to school or daycare. 

Thankfully, many of the local museums, science centers and libraries that have had to close their doors to the public have found ways to provide their services online. 

Clay Masters / IPR

In normal times, people can take for granted essential services like water and electricity in their homes. What’s even more critical during this pandemic is the health of these skilled workers who keep these key services going. Some utilities are taking steps to keep their staff from getting sick with coronavirus, which includes locking employees in at work.  

Courtesy of Siobhan Spain

As the coronavirus spreads every one of us will know someone who is infected, if we don’t already. But right now it can still be difficult to wrap our minds around what is going on and many people are, understandably, reluctant to share that they are infected with COVID-19. On this segment of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe speaks with Siobhan Spain, director of Mainframe Studios in Des Moines to share her story. She and her husband have both tested positive for COVID-19.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds
Grant Gerlock / IPR file

The ACLU of Iowa, Planned Parenthood and the Emma Goldman Clinic filed a lawsuit Monday challenging Gov. Kim Reynolds’ statement that the state’s temporary ban on non-essential medical procedures includes surgical abortion.

The groups are asking a judge to block enforcement of Reynolds’ order, saying it is effectively an unconstitutional ban on abortion after about 11 weeks of pregnancy.

Adam Sodders / Marshalltown Community School District

A green school bus pulls up to an elementary school in Sioux City. It’s a quarter past noon. Kids and teens line up at the bus to get a sack with breakfast and lunch. 

“There’s one and there’s two,” said a food service worker as she passed out bags. “Have a good day guys!” 

Brian Powers / The Des Moines Register via AP, Pool

Iowa businesses, school districts and citizens continue to respond to the escalating COVID-19 pandemic. We'll be posting updates as more news regarding the spread of the virus in Iowa becomes available here for the week of March 29-April 4. 

Ani Kolleshi/Unsplash

On this episode of River to River, guest host Katelyn Harrop is joined by emergency physician Dr. Hans House and Matthew Nonnenmann, associate professor of occupational and environmental health in the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa, to answer listeners' top questions about COVID-19 and the impact of the novel coronavirus.

Courtesy of George Lindblade

Medical professionals in western Iowa’s largest county started testing people for COVID-19 in their cars Friday. Health officials estimate the drive-thru site can test around 60 people per day, five days a week once it’s fully operational.

John Pemble / IPR file

“Shelter-in-place” is not a legal term and different states use different terms. It generally means that people are ordered to stay home from work except those deemed essential by the state, and those going to grocery store, pharmacy and doctor, or to get fresh air at safe distance from others. 

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says people should continue to stay home if they can although she is not making a shelter-in-place order as some governors have. 

Katie Peikes / IPR file

Beginning Friday, people can be tested for COVID-19 in Woodbury County without leaving their cars, though health officials wouldn’t say where the drive-thru testing is being done, to keep people from “bogging down” the clinic.