Iowa, Minnesota COVID-19 Updates

(Des Moines)--The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) was notified Sunday of 83 additional positive cases of COVID-19 for a total of 868 positive cases. There have been an additional 519 negative tests for a total of 9,973 negative tests to date, which includes testing reported by the State Hygienic Lab and other labs.


An additional 8 deaths were reported: an elderly adult (age 81+) in Appanoose County, an older adult (age 61 to 80) in Johnson County, 2 older adults in Polk County, 1 elderly adult in Linn County, 1 elderly adult in Scott County, and 1 older adult in Washington County. That brings the state's death total to 22.


More than 10% of all positive cases in Iowa are occurring among long term care staff and residents. More than 40% of all deaths in Iowa are associated with outbreaks in long-term care facilities. This statistic underscores that COVID-19 poses the most risk for older adults above the age of 60 with chronic health conditions, resulting in more severe illness and death.   


The Iowa Department of Public Health and public health officials continue to work closely with Iowa’s long-term care associations and facilities, providing guidance for sick residents, transferring residents in need of care to hospitals, constantly monitoring the health of other residents and staff, and implementing additional infection prevention measures.


Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds will hold a news conference on Monday morning at 11 a.m.

to give an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Iowa.




(St. Paul, Minn.)---The Minnesota Department of Health on Sunday reported an additional 70 cases of COVID-19 bringing the state’s total to 935. Five more deaths have been reported increasing the state’s total to 29.


Between the state lab and private entities nearly 26,800 people have been tested.


Officials say the total number of cases that have needed hospitalization in the state is 202 with 136 of those remaining in the hospital. 451 of the positive cases are no longer isolated.


For the second day in a row, there are now new cases in Martin County, so the county’s total remains at 32. Watonwan County confirmed its 4th case of COVID 19.



ELC to Offer Voluntary Education During School Closure

(Estherville)--Governor Kim Reynolds has ordered Iowa schools to remain closed through April 30th as part of her efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus. School districts have until April 10th to let state officials know how they plan to continue to provide educational opportunities to students. Schools can choose to provide voluntary educational opportunities, mandatory education services, or make up the three weeks of lost instruction time later in the year when it is safe to do so. Estherville Lincoln Central Superintendent Tara Paul says ELC chose the voluntary educational option.






Paul explains why she chose the voluntary option.






She details the types of instruction teachers will provide.






Paul recommends parents create a structured environment for their kids.






Paul spoke with Dave Van Roekel Friday morning on KILR FM 95.9.

ISU Extension and Outreach Offering Online Financing Planning Course

(Spirit Lake)--Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is offering a five-session or three-session online course in finances of caregiving and best practices for planning ahead as you age. Jan Monahan, a human sciences specialist in family finance with ISU Extension and Outreach in Spirit Lake, is co-hosting the course.






Monahan says participants will learn how to make an Angel book.






She says Planning As You Age will be offered online two different times this spring.






To register or for more information, contact Jan Monahan at 712-240-0254 or Brenda Schmitt at 641-512-0650,

Change at Dickinson County Food Pantries Due to COVID-19

(Spirit Lake)--Dickinson County Food Pantries are continuing to serve clients during the

COVID-19 outbreak, but with some changes.


In order to comply with the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and authorities, the pantries are still serving while adhering to social distancing.


Pantries are also considered essential and will continue to operate. If you need assistance getting

food from a pantry, you can enter your request at

Additional Changes at Hy-Vee Stores Due to COVID-19

(West Des Moines)--Hy-Vee, Inc. is announcing additional changes to its operations to help protect its employees and customers in response to the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.


Over the upcoming days, all Hy-Vee stores will install additional temporary window panels on the back side of checkouts to help provide an additional layer of protection for both cashiers and customers. The panels are in addition to the panels already positioned on the front side of checkouts.


This weekend, Hy-Vee is also placing new, one-way directional signage in its aisles that will be installed in all stores. The signage will direct customers to utilize aisles in a way that prevents them from passing each other, in an effort to maintain six feet of social distancing throughout the store.


 Also, effective Monday, April 6, customers shopping at all Hy-Vee locations will be strongly encouraged to follow a “one person per cart” rule to avoid multiple family members from accompanying a customer on shopping visits. Hy-Vee is asking that customers try to designate one person per family to visit the store during each visit and to avoid shopping in large groups in an effort to limit the number of people in stores at any given time.


New Restrictions at Emmet County Law Enforcement Center

(Estherville)--Due to the increasing threat of the COVID 19 virus, Emmet County Sheriff Mike Martens says public access to the Emmet County Law Enforcement Center has become further restricted.


If it is necessary to make contact with the Emmet County Sheriff’s Office or Estherville Police Department, you should do so by phone if at all possible.


Unescorted citizens will only be able to enter the secured west entryway area of the law center where they will have telephone intercom access to the 24 hour communications operator who will be available to take their information and put them in contact with the appropriate agency or services.

Iowa, Minnesota COVID 19 Updates

(Des Moines)--The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has been notified of 85 additional positive cases of Iowans with COVID-19, for a total of 699 positive cases. There have been a total of 8,764 negative tests to date, which includes testing reported by the State Hygienic Lab and other labs.


In northwest Iowa, O’Brien County has confirmed its third case of the virus, Sioux County now has five cases while Lyon and Plymouth counties have reported their first cases of COVID 19.


COVID-19 has now been reported in 65 of Iowa’s 99 counties.


(St. Paul, Minn.)---The Minnesota Department of Health Fridayreported an additional 47 cases of COVID-19 bringing the state’s total to 789. Four more deaths have been reported increasing the state’s total to 22.


Between the state lab and private entities about 24,200 people have been tested.


Officials say the total number of cases that have needed hospitalization in the state is 156 with 86 of those remaining in the hospital. 410 of the positive cases are no longer isolated.


Three new cases were reported in Martin County, increasing the county’s total to 32. The new cases are a 74 year old, a 17 year old, and a 48 year old. All three cases have had no recent travel, and are not currently hospitalized. A third case has been confirmed in Faribault County, a 41 year old, also with no recent travel history and not currently hospitalized.


Lakes Regional Healthcare and Clinics Announce Additional Changes

(Spirit Lake)--The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in more changes at Lakes Regional Healthcare and its clinics.


Lakes Regional Healthcare, Lakes Family Practice and Spirit Lake Medical Center are temporarily transitioning to virtual visits instead of in-person visits. Officials say the change is being made to protect staff and patients.


The virtual visits are face-to-face utilizing smartphone, tablet or computer, with any medications that are needed being prescribed via the virtual visit.


In addition, annual wellness visits are being postponed. Well-child visits for children under two are being continued so they can stay up to date with immunizations.


Hospital officials say the clinics have also been separated to isolate patients with possible illness due to COVID-19. Patients with upper respiratory symptoms who are going to be seen in a clinic are asked to call in advance by phone, so as not to put healthcare workers at risk.


Residents are also reminded of the local COVID-19 hotline which is 712-336-6696.

Local Pharmacist Reports No Shortages Due to COVID-19

(Estherville)--A local pharmacist says so far he has not seen much of an impact due to COVID 19. Steve Whiting with the Estherville Hy-Vee pharmacy says his supply chains are doing very well.






Whiting says there has not been a shortage of any particular drug.






He says residents should feel free to get a two or three month supply of their prescription drugs.




Estherville Good Sam Keeping Residents Informed During COVID 19 Restrictions

(Estherville)--Nursing homes and senior living facilities around the country have banned visitors in an effort to protect their vulnerable residents from the spread of COVID-19. The Good Samaritan Society of Estherville has had restrictions in place for several weeks. Good Sam administrator Patrick Barry says for the most part residents are adapting to the change.






Good Sam Activities Director Christina Radtke says some changes have been made to make sure residents stay informed and connected.






Barry says they are trying to practice social distancing as much as possible.






He says plans are in place should a resident be diagnosed with COVID-19.






Barry and Radkte spoke with Dave Van Roekel Thursday morning on KILR FM 95.9.


Reynolds Extends School Closures to April 30

(Des Moines)--At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced she's extending the state's disaster proclamation and school closures. Reynolds says schools will now be closed until April 30th.






Reynolds said at this time, she is not ordering schools be closed for the remainder of the year.






Reynolds says it is each district’s responsibility to develop a plan to educate students online or by other means. She says the Department of Education is developing options for schools.






The updated proclamation also includes the closure of businesses and non-essential procedures through the end of April.





Reynolds says COVID-19 cases have now been confirmed in 62 of Iowa’s 99 counties.



2nd COVID-19 Case Confirmed in Clay County

(Des Moines)--The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has been notified of 66 additional positive cases of Iowans with COVID-19, for a total of 614 positive cases. According to IDPH, two additional deaths were reported: 2 older adults (61-80) of Linn County. There have been a total of 8,054 negative tests to date, which includes testing reported by the State Hygienic Lab and other labs. 


A 2nd case has been confirmed in Clay County, a middle aged adult, 41 to 60 years of age.


(St. Paul, Minn.)---The Minnesota Department of Health today reported an additional 53 cases of COVID-19 bringing the state’s total to 742. One more death was also reported increasing the state’s total to 18.


Between the state lab and private entities, nearly 23,000 people have been tested.


Officials say the total number of cases that have needed hospitalization in the state is 138 with 75 of those remaining in the hospital. 373 of the positive cases are no longer isolated.


No new cases were reported in Martin County, so the county’s total remains at 29.


There are now five cases in Cottonwood County, up two from Wednesday. Watonwan County reported its third case of the COVID-19.

Kossuth County Public Health Seeking Donations of Thermometers

(Algona)--Kossuth County Public Health is seeking donations of thermometers so those showing symptoms of COVID-19 can stay at home. Kossuth County Emergency Management Coordinator Dave Penton says thermometers are in short supply due to the pandemic.






Penton says the thermometers will be given to people running a higher than normal temperature.






He says two drop-off sites have been set up to collect thermometers.






Penton stresses you should only make a donation if you have extra thermometers at home.

Suspicious Person Leads to Arrest of Ruthven Man on Multiple Charges

(Ruthven)--A suspicious person report Tuesday evening led to the arrest of a Ruthven man on multiple charges.


Shortly after 11 p.m., the Palo Alto County Sheriff's Office investigated a suspicious male, later identified as 30-year-old Christopher Quail of Ruthven, in the parking lot behind the Ruthven School. While identifying Quail, the Sheriff's Office confirmed a valid Clay County arrest warrant for Quail for operating a motor vehicle without owner's consent. While attempting to arrest Quail for the Clay County warrant, Quail resisted arrest and a taser was utilized by Deputies in order to take Quail into custody. Deputies later discovered Quail to be in possession of a concealed firearm, drugs, and drug paraphernalia.


Following the incident, Quail was charged with two counts of interference with official acts while possessing a firearm, both class D felonies, two counts of assault on persons in certain profession causing bodily injury, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal mischief in the 5th degree.


Quail was transported to the Palo Alto County Jail.

People Returning to Iowa Great Lakes Urged to Self Isolate

(Spirit Lake)--Governmental entities in Dickinson County, along with several chambers of commerce, have issued a joint letter highly urging those coming back to the Iowa Great Lakes for the season to self-isolate for 14 days.


They say it's critical to do that to limit any potential community spread of COVID-19.


They also encourage the use of delivery services offered by area grocery stores and some restaurants. You can also arrange to have deliveries made by visiting


The letter also encourages everyone to practice social distancing, frequent handwashing, disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, and to stay home if you're sick, except to get medical care if warranted.

Estherville Parks and Rec Board Cancels Annual Easter Egg Hunt

(Estherville)--Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Estherville Parks and Recreation Board has cancelled the annual Easter Egg Hunt.


The board members have closed all City Parks for the health and safety of the community. The walking trails, however, are exempt from this order as are the school lunch distribution sites.


For everybody’s safety, residents are also advised not to use any playground equipment until further notice.


Polaris Industries Announces Temporary Furloughs, Pay Cuts

(Minneapolis, Minn.)--Polaris Industries announced Tuesday some workers will be placed on temporary furloughs and that some others will experience cuts in pay and the company outlined its new strategy in dealing with the downturn stemming from the ongoing pandemic.


The company's Chief Executive, Scott Wine, announced he will forego his salary for the rest of the year.


Polaris Industries temporarily suspended operations at several of its plants last week, including one in Spirit Lake. The company Tuesday said it will resume operations this week at some of those plants for products with adequate supply demand and supply-chain coverage. It wasn't immediately certain what this may mean for the Spirit Lake plant, which manufactures Indian Motorcycles.


The company says even though limited production will resume at some of the plants, a number of exempt and nonexempt employees will not be paid. However, they will be able to retain their healthcare benefits and may be eligible for unemployment.


Workers that are not furloughed will have their pay cut by 20% effective April 13th, continuing through June.


Polaris has also suspended hiring and will delay merit pay increases through the end of 2020.


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