As COVID-19 cases topped 10 million worldwide, Iowa saw a sharp increase in infections and deaths late last week. Close to 500 new cases in the state were reported Friday and 544 new cases on Sunday, the highest daily total in about three weeks. The eight deaths reported Friday mark the highest daily total since June 17 when there were nine. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the number of new cases reported nationally set a new record, with Friday’s total topping 40,000.
The Jackson County Fair Board voted Thursday to cancel the 2020 fair, reversing its June 11 decision to proceed. While most events are postponed until next year the 4-H/FFA portion of the fair will still scheduled. The board’s decision came after the Iowa State Fair decided to cancel its event. Clinton and Dubuque counties and the city of Wyoming announced their fairs will move forward but will be abbreviated or have a different formats this year.
Here is a recap of key COVID-19 information from the past week:
Confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to increase: As of 10 a.m. Monday, Iowa had 28,728confirmed COVID-19 cases. Clinton County has a total of 90 confirmed cases and one death. Jackson County has a total of 23 cases. The state recorded 19 deaths last week, bringing the total to 704. At least 2.56 million Americans have tested positive for the virus, according to the New York Times database. More than 125,800 patients with the virus have died. Worldwide, more than 10.1 million people have been sickened by the coronavirus pandemic, and at least 502,036 have died. The virus has been detected in nearly every country.
Ongoing claims drop fourth straight week: Continued unemployment claims in Iowa were 153,771 the week ending June 20, down 981 from the previous week, the state reported. The number of initial claims filed were 8,542, down 974 from the week before. The most recent week’s unemployment benefit payments totaled $38 million. Since April 4, about $1 billion in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) has been paid.
Local businesses receive state grants: Several more local businesses received grants from the Iowa Economic Development Authority. So far, 67 businesses in Clinton County and 28 in Jackson County have received about $2.65 million through the Small Business Relief Program. The Iowa Small Business Relief Program grants range from $5,000 to $25,000. Businesses added recently include in Clinton County: Avery Johns LLC dba AJ’s Bar & Grill, $15,000. Jackson County: Downtown Pub LLC dba Downtown Pub, $20,000; and Richman’s Café Inc. dba Richman’s Café, $15,000.
Reynolds extends COVID-19 social distancing rules; reopens youth sports: Gov. Kim Reynolds said Thursday she would extend for another 30 days her COVID-19 emergency proclamation. While she has already reopened businesses and other public venues that were closed during the height of the pandemic, the renewed order keeps social distancing rules in place for those venues. Reynolds said her proclamation reopens all youth sporting events under guidelines from the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa High School Athletic Association and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union. She also said she’d support the Board of Regents in its decision to allow crowds at state university football games. The Story County Board of Health has recommended that Iowa State University bar spectators from its games this fall.
AARP calls for immediate, mandatory COVID-19 testing in Iowa care facilities: AARP Iowa says it is “outraged” by 11 COVID-19 deaths at an Iowa nursing home where symptomatic employees worked alongside vulnerable seniors. The organization is calling for immediate, mandatory testing in all of the state’s nursing home and assisted living facilities.Iowa Capital Dispatch reported last week about employment conditions and infections at the Dubuque Specialty Care home. AARP Iowa responded Thursday that the situation calls for action. Eleven residents of Dubuque Specialty Care have died of COVID-19, according to the state, and 43 residents of the home have been infected. The home currently has about 48 residents.AARP Iowa noted that 356 Iowa nursing home residents’ deaths are directly related to COVID-19 and represent 52% of the total documented COVID-19-deaths in Iowa.Nationally, more than 50,000 residents and workers at nursing homes and other care facilities have died from COVID-19. They account for 40% of all the virus-related deaths nationally.
Compiled by Nancy Mayfield from Iowa Capital Dispatch and other sources.