News 4.7.30: COVID-19 Updates, Child Abuse Concerns and Tyson Foods Closure

Apr 7, 2020

The number of confirmed cases of the new cornavirus in Iowa jumped by 102 for a total of 1,048.  So, far the illness has claimed 26 lives in the state.

Health officials say long term care facility and resident make up 11-percent of COVID-19 cases and 46-percent of deaths in the state.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is defending her use of a tool to help guide the state’s response to the outbreak that critics have called arbitrary and unscientific.

The matrix developed by the Iowa Department of Public Health looks at four data points in six regions of the state.

If any region hits 10 on a 12-point scale, the matrix calls for the potential implementation of a shelter-in-place order.

Critics include a top infectious disease researcher and other medical experts. They argue that the data points are backward-looking rather than preventive because they trigger stricter interventions only after more people are infected and hospitalized. 

Nebraska reported 35 new cases of the disease.  The number of positive cases climbed to 447 with 10 deaths.

Nebraska officials are growing about the potential for more child abuse cases because of the closing of schools, job losses and social isolation.

The director of Nebraska’s Child and Family Services Division, says the pandemic is putting a major strain on the families her agency serves.

Statewide school closures have also kept children at home and away from teachers, who are among the most likely to notice and report signs of abuse.

South Dakota Governor Krisi Noem declaring tomorrow a statewide day of prayer as the number of cases of the new coronavirus climbed to 320, with six deaths.

That number does not include testing done at private labs or people who the disease who have not been tested.

South Dakota Health officials say an employee at the Walmart Pharmacy in Yankton tested positive for the virus.  The employee worked two days on March 24 and March 30.

Customers who visited the pharmacy on those days during specific hours have been told to monitor themselves for symptoms for two weeks after potential exposure.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds wants federal officials to send new rapid-testing machines to meat packing plants in the state so employees can be screened in minutes.

Until that happens, she has this advice.

“Stay at home if you are sick.  If someone in your household is sick, stay at home.”

More than two dozen workers at a Tyson Foods facility in southeast Iowa tested positive for the virus.

The plant will be closed for a week or even more.

Tyson sent hogs to other facilities, including on in Storm Lake.

Siouxland District Health released updated guidelines for social distancing during the pandemic.

Officials want to remind people to follow recommendations of no more than 10 people per gathering. 

They also discourage drive-in activities and parades for schools, nursing homes and birthdays. 

Experts say they do not help flatten the curve because too many people are taking part.

Iowans who need help paying their power bills will get more time to apply for assistance. 

The application process for Iowa’s Low-Income Energy Assistance Program or LIHEAP was been extended through the end of May.

State administrators say the average payment from LIHEAP is $470.

Contact the Community Action Agency of Siouxland for more information.