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News and resources regarding COVID-19

News 4.22.20: Tyson COVID-19 Death, New Plant Closure, Restaurant Impact and Earth Day

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The Iowa Department of Public Health reports 107 news cases of COVID-19, that includes 19 more in Woodbury County.  A majority of the local cases are from people between the ages of 18 and 60.  There were seven more deaths for a total of 90.

Health officials announced the first death in Woodbury County due to COVID-19 on Tuesday.

The Sioux City Journal reports the man is 64-year-old Raymundo Corrall who worked at the Tyson plant in Dakota City.

His wife says he died on Saturday after first feeling sick about two weeks ago.  She claimed Corrall continued to work and didn’t have access to testing.

Tyson released a statement to Siouxland Public Media saying the company is “deeply saddened by the loss of a team member” and are “keeping the family in our thoughts and prayers.” 

(Full statement from Tyson Foods found below.)

Tyson Foods is suspending operations at a pork facility in Waterloo.

The company says closing would be a blow to hog farmers and could disrupt the nation’s pork supply.   

The announcement comes as employers have struggled to contain the virus in large meatpacking plants.

Several other packing plants have temporarily closed.

Nebraska state health officials are reporting a one-day jump of nine COVID-19 deaths, bringing the state’s total deaths from the disease to 42

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said says she does not want people to go to a dirt track race that’s scheduled to take place in Jefferson on Saturday.

But says she won’t do anything to stop the event that is expected to attract about 700 people.

The Republican governor has exercised a light hand on businesses during the global pandemic.

Statewide 1,755 people have been infected with the virus. Eight have died.

Ten percent of Iowa bars and restaurants say they will close permanently if they are not able to at least partially reopen by May 1st.

By July 1st, one-in-four 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. 

Governor Kim Reynolds ordered restaurants to close to dine-in customers on March 17th.

Since then, nearly 90 percent of bars and restaurants say they have laid off or furloughed workers.

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is urging residents to avoid gathering at polling places for the June 2 primary election and instead vote by mail. The absentee voting period for mailed primary ballots begins Thursday. Pate said in a news release Wednesday that voting from home is safest way to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Pate is sending absentee ballot request forms to every active registered voter in the state. The form should arrive in residents’ mailboxes next week and will include pre-paid postage for returning it to county auditors' offices. Requests must be received by by 5 p.m. on May 22.

April 22nd is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

“Our whole entire lives depend on clean soil, clean air and clean water.  We need to take care of that or it will be an expensive fix.  It’s better to be proactive than reactive.”

That’s Carrie Radloff, the chair of the Northwest Iowa Group Sierra Club.

She says the COVID-19 pandemic greatly impacted plans to celebrate the day.  So, several events have gone virtual.

The local Sierra Club was forced to cancel the second annual Earth Day celebration. But, organizers plan to bring it back next year.

Radloff encourages people to check out the Northwest Iowa Group’s Facebook page and share images to promote the environment.

Statement from Tyson Foods released on 4.22.20:

We’re deeply saddened by the loss of a team member from our Dakota City plant, and are keeping the family in our thoughts and prayers.

Tyson has been addressing COVID-19 concerns since January. That’s when we formed an internal COVID-19 task force in January 2020 and began isolating team members who could be at-risk by virtue of their travel. 

By the end of February, we had limited business travel, educated our team members about COVID-19 through digital signage, videos and other communications; encouraged sick team members to stay home by relaxing attendance policies, increased sanitation/disinfection efforts and implemented restrictions on visitors to our facilities.

In March, we were one of the first food companies to start taking worker temperatures before they enter our facilities and workers with a temp of 100.4 degrees or higher are sent home, and we were actively sourcing protective face coverings before the CDC released its recent guidance advising that individuals wear facial coverings.