Des Moines Register: Des Moines Performing Arts is requiring all of its staff and volunteers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the upcoming performance season, according to an email obtained by the Des Moines Register. Meanwhile, the nonprofit organization is considering safety protocols for attendees of its shows, which may include requiring masks, according to the […]

Des Moines Register: The U.S. Department of Education will investigate whether Iowa’s ban on mask mandates in schools discriminates against students with disabilities by putting them at greater risk of COVID-19, the federal agency announced today. The department’s Office of Civil Rights will investigate the matter. According to a news release, it will only serve as […]

Des Moines Register: The Des Moines Public Schools temporarily closed two of its administration buildings due to the number of staff testing positive for COVID-19, the district announced Wednesday. The buildings — the district’s headquarters at 2100 Fleur Drive and the Smouse Professional Learning Center at 2820 Center St. — will be closed at least until […]

Des Moines Register: As coronavirus cases rise across Iowa and the United States, event promoters and performers increasingly are asking for stepped-up precautions, including mask wearing, proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test. “Everything is fluid right now,” said Chris Connolly, general manager of the Iowa Events Center. “It’s case by case at this point.” […]

Iowa City Press-Citizen: With the school year rapidly approaching, University of Iowa faculty are pushing the state’s Board of Regents to use “swift action and compassion” and rethink current COVID-19 protocols. More than 500 people, mostly UI faculty, signed a petition sent to the state’s Board of Regents on Monday pushing for stronger mitigation strategies.

MercyOne, a West Des Moines-based statewide health system that employs more than 20,000 people, announced Tuesday that it will require all of its employees and medical staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19. MercyOne operates more than 420 care locations primarily in Iowa, including 18 owned or joint-venture medical centers and 25 affiliated hospitals. “As a faith-based health […]

Des Moines Register: The coronavirus’s summer surge is refilling Iowa hospitals, and doctors are bracing for the outbreak to worsen in the coming weeks. The Iowa Department of Public Health reported Wednesday that 201 COVID patients were hospitalized, up 28% from the 157 a week earlier and more than quadruple the 46 who were hospitalized on […]

Des Moines has lifted its mandate that people wear masks when in public, the city announced this afternoon. Mayor Frank Cownie had instituted the mandate in late August in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. “I want to thank our residents, business owners and visitors for understanding the importance of this authorization […]

Supported by more than $900,000 in federal grants, Iowa State University engineers are using graphene-based biosensors commonly studied for agriculture to develop more accessible testing for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, ISU announced this week. Two studies led by ISU are evaluating effective COVID-19 tests that can be easily scaled for mass manufacturing and tests that […]

Des Moines Register: Polk County will expand coronavirus vaccinations next week to include people ages 16 to 64 with a wide range of health conditions, the county’s health department announced today. State officials announced March 4 that counties could make that move starting this week, if they had enough vaccine available. Polk County did not immediately […]

Des Moines Register: AARP called on Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Thursday to quickly offer more help to seniors who are struggling to find scarce appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations. “The fragmented rollout is not only confusing and concerning, but also a prescription for redundancies, as duplicate individual registrations could lead to missed appointments and wasted vaccines,” […]

Cedar Rapids Gazette: Gov. Kim Reynolds did not consult her public health department before lifting Iowa’s remaining COVID-19 mitigation strategies, multiple Democrat state lawmakers said today. The Democrats said that during a weekly briefing this morning on the state’s pandemic response, an official with the Iowa Department of Public Health said the agency was not consulted […]

The Iowa Department of Public Health is seeking proposals from vendors by the end of the day today, Feb. 5, to create or adapt a centralized resource for Iowans signing up to receive a vaccine, be screened for prioritization eligibility, find more information about vaccine providers and assist with vaccine registration and appointment scheduling. Interested […]

About  20% of Iowa businesses are experiencing financial stress, and 55% have experienced negative supply chain distributions from their critical suppliers, according to a survey conducted as part of the Iowa Economic Development Authorities Business Expansion and Strategic Trends (BEST) initiative. Through the BEST initiative, IEDA and its economic development and utilities partners focused on […]

Cedar Rapids Gazette: Fewer Iowans are getting tested for COVID-19, and that’s making public health officials nervous. “Anytime you don’t know your status, you could certainly be spreading the virus unknowingly,” said Liz Highland, an advanced registered nurse practitioner at the clinic that manages the bulk of the University of Iowa’s COVID-19 testing. “That’s the biggest […]

Des Moines Register: Iowa does not plan to immediately offer coronavirus vaccinations to all people older than 65, as the federal government recommended Tuesday, the Iowa Department of Public Health said. “Once we have reasonable confidence that supply meets the demands of this broader eligibility criteria, we will activate the broader distribution criteria,” the department said […]

The Dallas County Health Department is partnering with Hy-Vee Inc. to administer the first doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Dallas County front-line health care workers today at the Waukee Hy-Vee Pharmacy, Hy-Vee announced this morning. At this time, pharmacies are only able to vaccinate front-line health care workers due to the CDC’s allocation […]

Des Moines Register: Residents and staff members of Iowa nursing homes will have to wait at least two more weeks for the coronavirus vaccinations that hospital workers began receiving Monday. Nursing homes, which house about 20,000 of Iowa’s most vulnerable people, are in particular peril from the virus. Brent Willett, president of the Iowa Health Care […]

Hy-Vee pharmacists and technicians who take part in the company’s rapid antigen COVID-19 testing will be offered an additional bonus for participating in the public health program, Hy-Vee announced on Sunday. Full-time pharmacists who administer the tests will receive a $500 bonus, and part-time pharmacists and technicians who administer the test will receive a $250 […]

Des Moines Register: A survey of Iowa restaurants, released by the Iowa Restaurant Association on Thursday, found that 88% of owners expect revenues to drop further in the next three months. The survey estimated that Iowa restaurant sales will total $3 billion in 2020, about 30% short of what the association projected before the pandemic. It […]

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced it will continue to waive the cost share for members undergoing inpatient treatment related to a COVID-19 diagnosis through March 31, 2021. The extension provides Wellmark members with extended relief from copays, coinsurance and deductibles for inpatient treatment of COVID-19 from an in-network health care provider. The waiver, originally put […]

Hy-Vee Inc. announced that it will offer rapid antigen COVID-19 testing at 47 Hy-Vee pharmacy locations, including three Greater Des Moines stores, via an outdoor drive-thru testing process. The first 18 locations will begin testing today, with the additional locations scheduled to begin testing over the next two weeks. Patients will receive same-day test results […]

With hospitalizations related to severe COVID-19 infections more than doubling over the past month, groups representing physician and nurse leaders of Iowa’s hospitals and health care systems today issued a joint statement emphasizing the need for the public to help prevent further spread of the virus.  “In recent weeks, we have seen COVID-19 cases trending […]

Sioux City Journal: A pork packing plant in Sioux City must pay unemployment benefits to two former workers who quit working at the Seaboard Triumph plant because COVID-19 had made conditions there unsafe. Administrative law judges in two separate cases reversed earlier decisions that had denied unemployment insurance benefits to Yoslady Rodriguez and Maria Montes. Opened […]

About $8 million in CARES Act funding is still available through the Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention program, Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office announced this morning. The deadline to apply for rent and mortgage assistance and utility assistance through the Iowa Residential Utility Disruption Prevention program is Dec. 4. The Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention program […]

University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics today announced steps it is taking to prepare for the continued increasing rates of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations across the state. In preparation for a potential surge, UI Health Care is adding ICU beds to accommodate statewide transfers, additional services for local COVID testing, and more staffing resources to […]

The number of Iowans who filed initial unemployment claims increased more than 13% last week to 4,791, Iowa Workforce Development reported today. The state agency attributed the rise to the annual increase in unemployment claims due to workers in construction and landscaping being laid off because of cooler weather.  Typically, unemployment claims begin to inch […]

The Polk County Regional Governing Board awarded a grant of $8,880 to Lutheran Services of Iowa to support LSI’s behavioral and mental health services provided to teenagers in Polk County Juvenile Detention, LSI announced. LSI provides trauma-informed care and therapy to teens living in the facility; the grant will support the increased need for services […]

Mercy College of Health Sciences will use an $82,500 grant it received recently to provide scholarships and tutoring for its nursing students. The Des Moines-based college was awarded the grant on Sept. 23 through the Coronavirus Relief Employer Innovation Fund established by Future Ready Iowa. Mercy College will be using these funds to provide $1,000 […]

Des Moines Register: Iowa continues to see more than twice as many coronavirus infections as the national average, White House experts warned state officials this week. “Community transmission has remained high across the state for the past month, with many preventable deaths,” said a White House coronavirus task force report to Iowa leaders. It said the […]

Cedar Rapids Gazette: Mercy Iowa City plans to lay off 29 employees as a result of financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a notice filed with the Iowa Workforce Development, the layoffs are effective Nov. 21. Mercy Iowa City, an affiliate MercyOne health system, employs 992 full-time and 196 part-time staff members across […]

Continuing unemployment claims filed in Iowa between Sept. 27 and Oct. 3 totaled 51,666, a decrease of 6,753 from the previous week, Iowa Workforce Development reported this week. There were 4,730 initial claims filed in Iowa. Unemployment insurance benefit payments totaled $14,767,817 for the week.  Industries with the most unemployment claims were manufacturing (959), health […]

Cedar Rapids Gazette: As new cases of COVID-19 at Iowa’s public universities remained low, Gov. Kim Reynolds declared Friday that bars in the campus communities of Story and Johnson counties could reopen today. Wineries, breweries and distilleries in those counties were allowed to reopen on Friday. After a surge in new COVID-19 cases, Reynolds initially ordered […]

The number of unemployment claims filed by Iowans during Sept. 13-19 was 63,291, a decrease of 2,131 from the previous week, Iowa Workforce Development reported today. Iowans filed 6,601 first-time unemployment claims last week.  Industries with the most claims last week were manufacturing (1,483), construction (1,043), health care and social assistance (440), accommodation and food services […]

Gov. Kim Reynolds today announced the state has awarded more than $4.3 million to 65 organizations that will receive Coronavirus Relief Fund Employer Innovation Fund Grants. The program will assist local employers, nonprofits, community colleges, high schools, private universities and the University of Iowa in providing postsecondary training and education to Iowans who have lost their jobs […]

Des Moines Register: Leaders in Iowa should “dramatically increase testing at universities to quickly find and quarantine on-campus cases and prevent spread” in the surrounding community, according to a report published Sunday from the White House coronavirus task force and made public Tuesday afternoon. “Use positive incentives to encourage testing among students,” the report states.

Des Moines Register: Students at Des Moines Public Schools could return to in-person classes starting next month, but only if local coronavirus numbers meet guidelines being established by the district. The Des Moines board of education approved a hybrid model Monday night that school officials said would bring the district into compliance with a state mandate […]

Businesses that hold a state liquor license will be required to complete a COVID-19 compliance checklist that officials say will help assist them should the state Alcoholic Beverages Division receive a complaint about an establishment. According to a news release, the checklist will help the ABD assist in the implementation of requirements contained in proclamations […]

More than 500 applications have been received seeking more than $8 million from the state’s Nonprofit Recovery Fund to help organizations recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Officials with the Iowa Economic Development Authority said the application period closed Monday, and applications are being reviewed. Awards should be announced soon, officials said. The fund, launched early […]

Des Moines Register: Iowans who have lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic will begin seeing an extra $300 on their unemployment benefits Friday. Iowa Workforce Development announced that it would begin processing applications for the extra money on Thursday morning. The payments come through Lost Wages Assistance, a program created by President Donald Trump […]

Gov. Kim Reynolds designated $5 million in funding from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to support grants through the Future Ready Iowa Employer Innovation Fund, dedicated to assisting Iowans whose jobs have been affected or eliminated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will provide funding for employers, employer consortiums, community organizations and nonprofits […]

Des Moines Register: White House coronavirus experts warned Iowa leaders Sunday, Aug. 30, that the state has the country’s steepest coronavirus outbreak, and the state should close bars in 61 counties and test all returning college students for the virus. The White House report also urged Iowa to require mask-wearing statewide. Gov. Kim Reynolds has repeatedly […]

Des Moines Register: As Iowa’s positive coronavirus cases climbed last week to their highest level yet, local elected officials in several of the state’s most populated counties said they are increasingly relying on data sources other than the state health department to make decisions about protecting residents in their communities. In places such as Polk, Story, […]

A proclamation signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds this afternoon will close all bars, wineries, breweries, distilleries and nightclubs this evening at 5 p.m. in six counties until Sept. 20, in an effort to curb a rising positive COVID-19 rate among Iowans ages 19-24, Reynolds said at a news conference. The new proclamation affects businesses in Polk, Dallas, Story, […]

Cedar Rapids Gazette: The Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids halted development of its health screening program because of changes in Federal Aviation Administration rules, airport Director Marty Lenss said. The program, approved by the airport commission last month, was intended to screen all outgoing passengers using medical personnel from Mercy Medical Center. But a change […]

Iowa gained 29,300 jobs in July, pushing total nonfarm employment to 1.48 million, Iowa Workforce Development reported today. Private industries added 20,700 jobs, fueled by service industries such as health care and social assistance along with administrative and support services. Overall, Iowa’s July seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 6.6%. In June, the rate was 8.4%. […]

Des Moines Register: Iowa Department of Public Health leaders said Wednesday they had fixed a computer “glitch” that caused many recent coronavirus test results to be incorrectly recorded as happening months ago. Dr. Caitlin Pedati, the department’s medical director, said she couldn’t immediately estimate how many test results were affected, “but it’s going to be a […]

Des Moines Register: Even as the number of positive tests for the novel coronavirus climbed among young people in the past month, older people continue to disproportionately experience the worst outcomes, particularly in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. On Tuesday, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported on its long-term care facility outbreak webpage […]

More Iowans will be eligible to receive assistance with rent and mortgage payments through the COVID-19 Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention program, the Iowa Finance Authority announced today. The program’s eligibility criteria have been expanded to allow Iowans who had been receiving $600 a week in federal unemployment stimulus benefits to apply for assistance through […]

Des Moines Register: Urbandale is the latest Iowa city to formally encourage its residents to wear face coverings to help curb the spread of COVID-19. The Urbandale City Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday night endorsing practices like social distancing and masks. Mayor Bob Andeweg later signed the resolution, which is not a mandate and is […]

Cedar Rapids Gazette: Nearly half of Iowa’s 23 casinos are requiring guests to wear face masks. Ten casinos are now requiring face masks inside gambling areas, casinos, according to an analysis of coronavirus-related policies posted on the casinos’ websites. Three of the casinos requiring masks limit the mandate to situations where guests cannot maintain a 6-foot […]

Des Moines Register: Des Moines-area hospitals are reimposing visitor restrictions because of the coronavirus’ resurgence in Central Iowa. The hospitals barred most visitors in the spring, then loosened the rules in June, after the pandemic seemed to be stabilizing. But infection numbers and hospitalizations have climbed since then, leading to the new clampdown. MercyOne and UnityPoint’s […]

Des Moines Register: The federal government gave Iowa’s richest man up to $6.3 million in coronavirus stimulus money intended to help small businesses, and he’s far from the only deep-pocketed or politically connected Iowa business owner to benefit from the program. Seed geneticist Harry Stine received six forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, according to […]

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier: Iowa is seeing a drop in the rate and number of high school seniors filing free applications for federal student aid for the upcoming school year — a probable consequence of COVID-19 and an indication some might be abandoning higher education plans for fall. Additionally, the percentage of college students who already have […]

Des Moines Register: Muscatine Mayor Diana Broderson on Sunday publicly announced a citywide proclamation that makes face masks mandatory in indoor and outdoor public spaces in Muscatine where individuals cannot social distance from one another. The proclamation outlines certain exceptions to the rule, including when one is eating at a restaurant, playing a sport or has […]

Cityview, an alternative news magazine published in Des Moines, will resume publishing this month after suspending the print edition since the March 2020 issue, the magazine announced late Tuesday. Publisher Shane Goodman announced the decision to suspend on March 24 as the COVID-19 pandemic closed events, restaurants, movies and other entertainment, which the magazine relied […]

The Plains Area Mental Health Center in Carroll was awarded $107,180 by the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau to purchase laptop computers and tablets so health care providers can continue serving patients in rural areas during the COVID-19 pandemic, the FCC announced this week. The center is one of 77 applicants nationwide who received […]

The NFIB Research Center has released updated survey results on small businesses’ progress since many states’ COVID-19 restrictions have been eased. According to the national survey of National Federation of Independent Business members, 27% of small business owners reported experiencing a significant or moderate increase in sales due to eased restrictions in the states. Another 27% reported […]

With record numbers of U.S. adults filing for unemployment, and many people facing a lower income amid COVID-19, the Wells Fargo Foundation is supporting national nonprofits in expanding virtual financial coaching services, cost-free, to help the public adapt. The following four nonprofits, with grant support from Wells Fargo, are now offering personalized and confidential financial […]

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Thursday posted an updated and expanded technical assistance publication addressing questions arising under the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Laws related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The publication, “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws,” provides approaches employers may adopt as they plan […]

West Des Moines city officials are taking steps to provide the city’s restaurants and bars increased flexibility for outside service areas, the city announced in a release. While all Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division requirements will remain in place, the city will consider removing the requirement for a temporary use permit in some instances. In addition, […]

The Iowa Health Care Association Foundation has launched a new crisis relief fund to support Iowa’s senior health care workers in preventing and mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Iowa long-term care providers can use the fund to help prevent and mitigate COVID-19 based on their organization’s specific needs, whether it’s purchasing additional personal protective equipment […]

Des Moines Register: Gov. Kim Reynolds announced today that she’s lifting capacity limits at Iowa businesses, starting Friday. Businesses have been limited to 50% operating capacity in Iowa as a measure to help slow the spread of COVID-19. “Eliminating the capacity restrictions will allow businesses the flexibility to adjust their specific operations accordingly to best meet […]

Iowa could lose more than 21,000 education jobs over the next three fiscal years if additional federal aid isn’t provided to help shore up state revenues that have been devastated by the COVID-19 economic shutdown, according to an analysis released today by the National Education Association.  Nationwide, the NEA projects that the United States could lose 1.9 […]

Iowa State University will begin its fall semester on Aug. 17, and end the semester before Thanksgiving as it continues to work to keep students and faculty safe during the coronavirus pandemic. “We are making every effort to maximize in-person learning and the student learning experiences that are a defining characteristic of an Iowa State […]

Des Moines Register: U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend are calling for a cut in federal payments to unemployed workers as the economy recovers from the COVID-19-caused recession. Grassley and Townsend both said during a U.S. Senate Finance Committee hearing on unemployment insurance Tuesday that they believe some people won’t […]

The Iowa Nonprofit Recovery Coalition is asking the Legislature for federal and state support to help offset losses incurred as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter signed by 388 funders, business partners, nonprofits, individual donors and volunteers, coalition members say Iowa nonprofits “face a perfect storm of significantly increased service demands and expenses, combined […]

The EMC Insurance Foundation has contributed $525,000 in additional pandemic relief funding to assist families and small businesses struggling due to COVID-19. Of that contribution, $450,000 will go to Feeding America for school food pantries and other child hunger programs, and $75,000 goes to the Small Business Recovery Grant Program offered through a consortium of public and private entities […]

Leaders of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry and the National Association of Manufacturers are calling on state and federal legislators to protect manufacturers from being hit with bad-faith COVID-19 liability lawsuits as they resume operations. The organizations said in a press release that they support policymakers’ efforts to enact “thoughtful liability protections to […]

Research and news coverage of work-life balance across the country are showing time and again that the coronavirus pandemic is causing an increased strain on individuals, and creating new challenges for family units and relationships. A survey of Business Record readers showed this is no different for our audience. But we may be feeling this […]

Radio Iowa: Republicans in the Iowa House have passed legislation to shield businesses, churches and other organizations from lawsuits over COVID-19. Representative Gary Carlson, a Republican from Muscatine, said it’ll help reboot the economy. But House Democratic Leader Todd Prichard of Charles City said the bill will reward businesses that haven’t taken steps to adequately protect […]

The Iowa Restaurant Association has asked Iowa lawmakers to provide financial relief in the form of tax and fee forgiveness for Iowa’s restaurants and other small businesses. Iowa’s restaurant industry, with more than 6,000 establishments, lost more than $310 million in April due to COVID-19-related state-mandated closures.  The association is asking the Legislature, which is […]

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs awarded more than $1.1 million in federal CARES Act funds through 173 emergency grants statewide, the department announced this morning. The money includes $923,372 for emergency relief and $178,000 in humanities grants to help cultural organizations rebound from the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Previously, the department awarded […]

U.S. commercial property insurers will likely pay property damage losses resulting from the civil unrest in cities across the country, but business interruption loss calculations will be complicated by ongoing issues with coronavirus lockdowns, according to a Business Insurance article. Insurers will likely base business interruption claims payments on projected income rather than past income, according to […]

Seventy-five restaurant workers have received $250 one-time grants from the Iowa Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, which was started to support people affected by the suspension of on-premise dining during the COVID-19 related shutdown. More than 40,000 restaurant and hotel workers have been laid off since mid-March when the shutdown began. While restaurants are reopening, they […]

Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Education on Monday announced the state has received $26.2 million in federal relief to ensure education continues for students of all ages affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Iowa’s grant is part of the nearly $3 billion Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and […]

The city of Clive reopened its playgrounds today, and plans to begin some recreational leagues and team sports on June 15, city officials announced in a news release. The city is still strongly recommending that visitors practice social distancing, limit direct physical contact and follow other safe public health practices. The decision only affects city […]

Iowa Workforce Development today released information regarding two new unemployment benefit programs available to Iowans. The first program, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), will be available beginning today through the week ending Dec. 26 for people who have exhausted their 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits. The PEUC was created by the federal CARES Act and provides an additional 13 […]

More than 7,000 students at Iowa State University applied for assistance because of hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with an average grant award of $1,400 going to eligible students, the university announced this week. About 6,000 students have received assistance. Another 1,300 applications are still being reviewed, officials at ISU said. The university received […]

Delta Dental of Iowa has announced additional relief programs for members, employers and dentists affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These programs are designed to offer financial assistance as dental offices begin to reopen and premium credits to members who may have had to delay dental and vision care. In addition, members can choose to pay their premium […]

Sioux City Journal: After nearly a quarter of its workers at a Storm Lake pork processing facility tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Tyson announced Thursday that it will temporarily halt operations. On Thursday, state health officials also confirmed that 555 workers at the plant tested positive for the virus. The vast majority of the plant’s […]

The Polk County Continuum of Care is partnering with community organizations to support residents with information about eviction, renters’ rights and community resources in preparation for the May 27 expiration of Iowa’s eviction moratorium, the CoC announced this week. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 44% of Iowa renters were housing-burdened, meaning they spent more than 30% of […]

IDPH confirms coronavirus outbreak at Tyson pork processing plant in Storm LakeDes Moines Register: Iowa Department of Public Health Deputy Director Sarah Reisetter confirmed today the suspected coronavirus outbreak at Tyson Foods’ pork processing plant in Storm Lake, where more than 20% of the employees have tested positive. The news comes one day after Reisetter said […]

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced Wednesday it will extend its previously announced COVID-19 benefits, which would have expired on June 16, now through Aug. 31. The benefits include member cost-share waivers for COVID-19 testing and treatment, virtual visits and support for business customers. The extension also includes payment parity for providers of virtual health care […]

Des Moines Register: University of Iowa experts warned this week that premature easing of social distancing rules could spark a coronavirus surge, adding that encouraging the public to wear plastic face shields could substantially reduce the danger. The transparent shields cover people’s entire faces. Cloth face masks, even if worn properly, cover only the mouth and […]

Cedar Rapids Gazette: Gov. Kim Reynolds and a top state public health official said today the information-gathering process is one reason the state does not voluntarily identify new coronavirus outbreaks at businesses like food processing plants until asked by media members. Not immediately announcing outbreaks also gives those business owners time to notify employees and community […]

Des Moines Register: Paychecks for nearly a quarter of Principal Financial Group’s employees will be smaller, the giant Des Moines-based investment and retirement services company said Tuesday. Principal said it’s cutting salaries for 23% of its global workforce to “mitigate and manage” the economic and market fallout from COVID-19. Principal employs about 18,000 people worldwide and […]

Iowa gives the OK to casinos, amusement parks, outdoor entertainment eventsDes Moines Register: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds ratcheted back further restrictions today, allowing casinos and amusement parks to reopen next week and easing additional safeguards on bars and restaurants. Reynolds said at her daily coronavirus briefing that casinos and gaming facilities, amusement parks, bowling alleys, pool […]

The Des Moines Public Library will begin offering curbside pickup service of library materials at all locations beginning June 1 as the library begins reintroducing services to the community. Beginning today, patrons with active library cards can start reserving new items through the online catalog or by calling the library telephone reference line at 515-283-4152 […]

As meatpacking plants reopen, data about worker illness remains elusiveNew York Times: Meatpacking facilities have proved to be places where the virus spreads rapidly. But as dozens of plants that closed because of outbreaks begin reopening, meat companies’ reluctance to disclose detailed case counts makes it difficult to determine whether the contagion is contained or new […]

The Downtown Farmers’ Market is working on an online platform to further connect customers and vendors. According to a news release, the Downtown Farmers’ Marketplace Online is expected to launch in late May or early June. It will let vendors take online orders and arrange their own pickup or delivery location. All Downtown Farmers’ Market […]

The Greater Des Moines Partnership has released its DSM Forward playbooks for Construction and Development, and Financial and Professional Services, bringing to 16 the number of industry-specific playbooks that provide guidance to businesses as they begin to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Partnership had previously released playbooks for Agriculture, Child Care, Education, Events, Arts and Culture, Hotels, Gyms, Government, Health Care, Manufacturing, Nonprofits, Personal Services, Restaurants, Retail and Utilities. The playbooks […]

The Urbandale Indoor Swimming Pool and Senior Recreation Center will remain closed until at least July 6, the city announced this week. In addition, in-person parks and recreation programs are canceled through at least June 14. Park amenities including playgrounds, restrooms, shelters and other facilities also are closed until at least mid-June. The closures are […]

Utility customers who are delinquent on their payments could be subject to disconnection after Gov. Kim Reynolds’ proclamation easing some restrictions and reopening some businesses expires May 27. The Iowa Utilities Board issued an order on Wednesday that creates requirements utility companies must follow before they can begin disconnecting a customer’s utilities. According to a […]

Linn County health official says Test Iowa, lack of data leave county at disadvantageDes Moines Register: A top health emergency response official in eastern Iowa told Gov. Kim Reynolds’ administration this week that local officials struggled to get basic data from the Test Iowa coronavirus testing site in Cedar Rapids, which made it difficult to make […]

More than $500M in aid heading to Iowa hospitals covers only half of COVID-19 lossesIowa Public Radio: Iowa hospitals received $190.3 million in CARES Act relief fund payments in April and were expecting as much as $360 million more in a second round of federal relief aid underway now, interviews and documents shared with IowaWatch show. […]

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a new proclamation today that will enable a number of public gathering venues to reopen on a restricted basis.  Effective Friday, movie theaters, zoos, aquariums, museums and wedding reception venues will be permitted to reopen with appropriate public health measures in place. Swimming pools will also be permitted to reopen for lap swimming […]

U.S. workplace safety agency steps up COVID-19 inspectionsReuters: The U.S. Labor Department will expand inspections of businesses to reduce job-site hazards related to the new coronavirus as employees begin returning to work across the country, although the policy falls short of demands by worker advocates. The revised policy, issued late Tuesday by the Occupational Safety and […]

Farmers can apply next week for $16 billion in coronavirus aidCedar Rapids Gazette: Farmers facing big losses after the bottom dropped out of the food market in the COVID-19 pandemic this spring can start applying next week for a slice of $16 billion in aid, the Trump administration said Tuesday. The funds, mostly from the CARES […]

The United Way of Central Iowa will be moving its annual Live United event online this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s event is scheduled for 10:30-11:30 a.m. on May 29. During the celebration, the annual Community Impact Report will be released, and the winners for the Live United Awards will be announced, […]

The Central Iowa Business Conference, hosted by the Urbandale Chamber of Commerce, has been postponed until 2021. The fourth annual CIBC will now be held Sept. 14, 2021, at the Meadows Event Center. The keynote speaker lineup remains the same and includes Emmy Award-winning actor Henry Winkler, business management pioneer Jack Stack and best-selling author […]

The Insurance Information Institute has launched an information campaign with a focus on “ensuring the insurance industry is able to sustain its longstanding role as the country’s backbone of economic growth and stability” amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Future of American Insurance & Reinsurance (FAIR) campaign seeks to address threats to the industry from “growing calls to […]

NYSE issues warning about Lee Enterprises listingQuad-City Times: Lee Enterprises has received a warning from the New York Stock Exchange about its stock listing and the possibility of its listing being downgraded. Lee, the Davenport-based parent company of the Quad-City Times and other media, said Monday that it received a warning from the NYSE about it […]

Iowa cities with meatpacking plants struggle to get information on COVID-19 casesDes Moines Register: Across Iowa, communities with meatpacking plants are struggling to get information from companies and public health officials about COVID-19 outbreaks. Officials say the lack of transparency makes it difficult for cities and towns to assess the virus’s threat as Gov. Kim Reynolds […]

At last week’s Power Breakfast, we heard about broadband, how you can help local hotels, the rise of telehealth and even the “pandemic pineapple,” thanks to speaker Deidre DeJear, owner of Caleo Enterprises. The action-packed event included nine speakers, all leaders in their respective industries across the region and state.  “The message that I have […]

Nonprofit input is critical in informing Iowa public policy and resource allocation for COVID-19 response and recovery. The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines encourages your participation in the Iowa Economic Development Authority Business and Nonprofit Impact Survey. The IEDA, in partnership with the University of Northern Iowa’s Institute for Decision Making, has released a […]

Board of Regents dropping Iowa Public Radio fundingCedar Rapids Gazette: After creating Iowa Public Radio in 2004, Iowa’s Board of Regents — facing its own unprecedented financial hurt from COVID-19 — is cutting its operating support, amounting to 10% of IPR’s budget. In a message to supporters last week, IPR Executive Director Myrna Johnson broke the […]

The city of Ankeny is extending closures and announcing new cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cancelling all events and programming at public facilities until May 27, the city announced this week. The Ankeny Kirkendall Public Library remains closed but is offering curbside service. More information on specific services and events is available online.  

Coronavirus drives 75% of small businesses to seek federal aidWall Street Journal: Three out of four U.S. small businesses have sought federal aid to cope with fallout from the new coronavirus, according to a Census Bureau survey released today in another indication of the widespread damage caused by the pandemic. The survey found that 75% of […]

The first virtual Iowa Arts Summit will be held on Aug. 7, Iowa Cultural Affairs announced this week. Past summits have attracted more than 300 attendees. This year’s summit will focus on “moving from relief to resilience,” the Iowa Arts Council said in a statement. Sessions will explore adaptability, community engagement and inclusive arts programming […]

Zoom to expand in U.S. with engineering centers in Phoenix, PittsburghReuters: Zoom Video Communications Inc. said today that it plans to hire 500 software engineers for research and development locations in Phoenix and Pittsburgh over the next two years, expanding its engineering workforce by about 60%. The San Jose, Calif.-based videoconferencing company has seen a large […]

The Greater Des Moines Partnership has released more DSM Forward industry-specific playbooks devoted to helping businesses and industries prepare for next steps related to economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The four additional industry areas covered are manufacturing; nonprofits; events, arts and culture; and hotels. The DSM Forward playbooks include recommendations — leveraging international, national, state and […]

Airlines are having trouble enforcing their face mask policiesCNN Business: Plans from several major U.S. airlines on how to enforce their mandatory mask requirements reveal that, for the most part, they will rely on passenger cooperation rather than strict enforcement. Separate memos obtained by CNN that American Airlines sent to its pilots and flight attendants show […]

The Des Moines Arts Festival has canceled this year’s event, and instead will focus on engaging the community through interactive experiences and continuing to support professional development of artists, organizers announced Tuesday.  This year’s festival was scheduled for June 26-28, but organizers said they decided to call it off because of the uncertainty surrounding the […]

The Iowa Department of Human Services announced additional financial support for foster group care and shelter care providers. The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act provided an allocation of $476,722 in discretionary funding for child welfare services to prevent, prepare for and respond to the pandemic. Due to school closures, foster group care […]

Polk County among 10 in U.S. where coronavirus has spread fastestDes Moines Register: Polk County late last week was among the 10 counties in the United States where the coronavirus was spreading fastest, a Des Moines Register analysis of national COVID-19 data confirmed. An unreleased White House coronavirus task force report published by NBC News on […]

More than $93,000 has been awarded to 26 local nonprofit organizations through the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines’ COVID-19 Nonprofit Adaptation Grant Program. The program provides assistance to support unanticipated needs that organizations may experience as they continue providing critical services or reimagining their “operational effectiveness for the emerging future,” officials with the foundation said […]

Meredith delays quarterly earnings report, says coronavirus has hit its business hardDes Moines Register: Saying it is facing “an extremely challenging business environment” because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Meredith Corp. informed the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission it is delaying its quarterly earnings report, which was due Monday. The Des Moines-based media company, which operates more than […]

Trump says U.S. will purchase $3 billion in agricultural products from farmersThe Hill: President Donald Trump announced Saturday that the U.S. will buy $3 billion in agricultural products from American farmers starting early this week. “Starting early next week, at my order, the USA will be purchasing, from our Farmers, Ranchers & Specialty Crop Growers, 3 […]

The U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today released updated state-by-state figures for Economic Impact Payments, with approximately 130 million individuals receiving payments worth more than $200 billion in the program’s first four weeks. In Iowa, more than 1.2 million payments have been made totaling $2,212,426,465, the agencies said. More than 150 million payments will […]

U.S. Cellular donated $10,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa COVID-19 Relief Fund, the company announced Thursday. The Central Iowa club was one of seven in Iowa and Nebraska that received a total of $60,000. The others are: Ames ($5,000), Cedar Rapids ($10,000), Davenport/Moline ($10,000), Dubuque ($10,000), Omaha/Council Bluffs ($10,000) and Waterloo ($5,000). […]

State auditor to review fairness of relief grant programCorridor Business Journal: State Auditor Rob Sand will review a statewide emergency grant program following questions and criticism by some of the economically devastated small business owners it was intended to help. “I am looking into it,” Sand, the state’s watchdog, said of the Small Business Relief Program […]

Iowa shifts focus from coronavirus mitigation to managementCedar Rapids Gazette: Thanks to enough people following guidelines on social distancing and avoiding large gatherings, Gov. Kim Reynolds said Thursday the state is able to shift its COVID-19 focus from mitigation strategies to managing the impact on Iowans. Even as the state Department of Public Health reported 655 […]

The World Food Prize Foundation announced that its second Digital Dialogue, “Defining Medium to Long-term Improvements for Resilient Food Systems,” will be held May 14. Five global experts will examine the medium- to longer-term needs for reshaping the food system, especially as espoused in numerous global calls to action and open letters in circulation. “The COVID crisis […]

Employers must try to accommodate workers vulnerable to coronavirus, agency saysReuters: The U.S. agency that enforces laws prohibiting disability discrimination said today that employers must try to accommodate workers with medical conditions that make them vulnerable to the novel coronavirus before sending them home. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released legal guidance saying employers have a […]

Reynolds allows more Iowa business to reopenCedar Rapids Gazette: Starting Friday, Iowans across the state will have more latitude to go to the dentist and stay overnight at campgrounds, and in the hardest hit parts of the state visit malls and retail stores. But, notably, the revised order issued Wednesday evening by Gov. Kim Reynolds does […]

A new grant program is being launched to help small business owners recover from losses suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Greater Des Moines Partnership, along with the cities of Des Moines, Urbandale, Johnston, Indianola, Norwalk, West Des Moines, Clive, Windsor Heights and Carlisle, and Polk and Warren counties, have launched the Small Business Recovery […]

Those who submit a donation of $5.15 or more to the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines’ Disaster Recovery Fund through May 10 can receive a free Pro Iowa soccer scarf from USL Pro Iowa, the organization announced this week. Those who donate should forward the confirmation email they receive from the Community Foundation to by […]

Submitted by: Mike Colwell, executive director of entrepreneurial initiative at the Greater Des Moines Partnership In our 24/7 news cycle, social-media-influenced world, everyone is judged in near real time. Recently Bill Gates announced his foundation would fund the construction of seven factories to produce COVID-19 vaccine candidates. The world judged him in a very positive […]

58% of employees at Tyson’s Perry plant test positive for COVID-19Radio Iowa: Officials have now confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks at four Iowa meatpacking facilities. More than 700 of the employees at Tyson’s plant in Perry — that’s 58 percent of the workforce — have tested positive for the virus. The company had refused to reveal data […]

U.S. officials warn of new virus surge as states reopenWall Street Journal: U.S. researchers and officials warned about the possibility of a new surge in coronavirus cases as more states and countries begin to reopen their economies and relax social-distancing rules. The U.S. death toll from the Covid-19 disease caused by the virus could approach […]

At UnityPoint Health – Des Moines Foundation, donations to the COVID-19 Crisis Fund will be matched up to $50,000 as part of the Day of Global Action for Giving and Unity today (also known as #GivingTuesday), the foundation announced this week. The COVID-19 Crisis Fund is supported by community donors. UnityPoint Health employees can apply […]

Nearly 20,000 small businesses in Iowa have been approved to receive funding from the second round of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, newly released information shows. Through Friday, 19,997 Iowa small businesses have been approved to receive more than $781.6 million from the program, data posted on the Small Business Administration’s website shows. […]

Following public health proclamations established by Gov. Kim Reynolds, the Iowa Utilities Board is extending the winter moratorium that restricts the disconnection of utility services until May 27. The order directs all electric and natural gas utilities to cease disconnection of residential service due to nonpayment for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) qualified […]

4 more COVID-19 deaths reported in Iowa as state approaches 10,000 positive casesDes Moines Register: Another four people with COVID-19 have died, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported Monday, bringing the statewide total to 188. Additionally, 534 people have tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. Statewide, 9,703 have tested […]

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is launching the DSM Day of Thanks on Wednesday to celebrate health care and other essential workers while practicing social distancing. Des Moines residents are encouraged to participate by hanging DSM Day of Thanks signs in the windows of homes and businesses; posting a thank-you message and photo on social […]

The Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation has awarded grants of $20,000 each to 18 health and dental centers across Iowa. The $360,000 in COVID-19 response grants were awarded to help preserve access to care within Iowa’s safety net infrastructure during this challenging time for many Iowans. Each of the 18 safety net clinics and/or federal qualified health […]

Marshalltown man dies from COVID-19 after numerous attempts to get medical helpMarshalltown Times-Republican: A Marshalltown man died from COVID-19 after several attempts to get medical help, his wife said. Kyle Brown started feeling sick on April 17, while on the job as a maintenance technician at TPI in Newton. He died April 29 — 12 […]

Polk County surpasses 1,000 COVID-19 cases; state reports 8 new deathsDes Moines Register: Another eight people with COVID-19 have died, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported today, bringing the statewide total to 170. IDPH also reported that there were 739 new positive cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. Across the state, […]

Great Western Bank’s results turned sharply into loss territory for the company’s second fiscal quarter, as the company recognized impairment charges of $742.2 million in anticipation of market and valuation disruption from the COVID-19 outbreak, the Corridor Business Journal reported. The Sioux Falls, S.D.-based regional bank reported a net loss per share of $740.6 million, or $13.25 […]

Iowa universities face uncertain future as they lose $190 million to COVID-19Iowa Capital Dispatch: During the Iowa Board of Regents meeting on Thursday, school officials from the University of Northern Iowa, Iowa State University and University of Iowa said they were already seeing financial stress due to unexpected costs related to COVID-19 and an expected drop […]

Livestock producers negatively affected by disruptions in the food supply chain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic can now get support through a new Resource Coordination Center, state agriculture officials announced Thursday. “COVID-19 has disrupted every aspect of our lives, including our food supply chain,” state Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig said in a news release. “This […]

Iowa hits another new high for coronavirus-related deathsCedar Rapids Gazette: For the second consecutive day, the number of new coronavirus-related deaths reached a new high in Iowa, as the state confirmed 14 new deaths today. A total of 162 Iowa deaths have been confirmed since the virus first appeared here in early March. Across the state, […]

The Polk County Housing Trust Fund has rescheduled its annual Affordable Housing Week from April to the week of Oct. 12-17, the organization announced this week. PCHTF is continuing to offer its exhibit “Undesign the Redline: DSM” through virtual tours, available by appointment for organizations and community groups, or for public tours every Wednesday at […]

Tyson to temporarily close Sioux City-area beef plant amid rising COVID-19 concernsSioux City Journal: Facing growing public scrutiny over an outbreak of COVID-19 at its Dakota City, Neb., beef plant, Tyson Fresh Meats said late Wednesday it will shut down the 4,300-employee facility for four days, beginning Friday. Tyson officials said the halt in production will […]

The technology subsidiary of West Des Moines-based Homesteaders Life Co., eFuneral Solutions LLC, announced it has developed a new online sales tool designed to facilitate remote sales by preneed counselors. It’s also offering the application, called eFuneral Agent, to all providers cost-free for the remainder of this year, regardless of whether they are currently using […]

Kading, an Urbandale-based property development company, is buying about $10,000 in meals from local restaurants to help its residents in 18 communities in Central Iowa during the coronavirus pandemic. The family-owned company has partnered with locally owned restaurants in Winterset, Indianola, Stuart and Adel to pay between $300 and $600 for meals in each community. […]

Iowa religious leaders call on churches to avoid gatherings despite state loosening rulesDes Moines Register: Leaders from more than a dozen Christian denominations are calling on Iowans to refrain from in-person religious gatherings despite Gov. Kim Reynolds’ lifting of some restrictions on religious services. Reynolds announced Monday that religious institutions can once again host gatherings that […]

Reynolds defends reopening process despite warning of ‘second wave’ of infectionsDes Moines Register: Gov. Kim Reynolds today defended her decision to loosen some restrictions on businesses and religious gatherings in Iowa despite a warning from a University of Iowa report that doing so could lead to a second wave of cases. Calling the UI model “a […]

Hy-Vee Inc. announced Monday that all store and distribution center employees throughout its eight-state region are now required to wear masks or other facial coverings while at work. Hy-Vee provided masks to all employees over the past several weeks. The company has already installed temporary Plexiglas barriers at all checkout stands, pharmacy customer service and […]

UI researchers warn ‘a second wave of infections is likely’ if mitigation efforts are liftedDes Moines Register: Researchers at the University of Iowa warned Gov. Kim Reynolds’ administration that it should keep COVID-19 mitigation efforts in place within the state or “a second wave of infections is likely.” The warning was included in a 12-page report […]

Iowa Workforce Development on Monday issued guidelines for employers to follow when workers being recalled from layoffs refuse to return to work. Refusing to return to work when recalled, or in an attempt to continue to draw unemployment benefits, will be considered a “voluntary quit,” which would disqualify a claimant from receiving benefits, including the […]

Boeing CEO sees slow recovery for global aviationWall Street Journal: Air traffic may not bounce back for two or three years, Boeing Co. Chief Executive David Calhoun said, outlining the tough outlook for global aviation to the plane maker’s shareholders today. “The health crisis is unlike anything we have ever experienced,” Calhoun said at the annual […]

Midwest governors have different reopening strategiesCedar Rapids Gazette: Governors nationwide are developing strategies for when and how to begin reopening businesses, parks and anything else temporarily closed by coronavirus mitigation efforts. The myriad plans are interesting and worth following as elected officials take different approaches. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Friday announced the first baby steps […]

Des Moines Area Religious Council is launching a food pantry delivery service to meet the needs of vulnerable community members. People can call 833-362-7220 toll-free to request a delivery. The number will be staffed from 9 a.m. to noon Monday-Friday, and food will be delivered to the person’s doorstep with no-contact drop-off the following business […]

Reynolds lifts bans on nonessential surgeries, farmers markets starting MondayDes Moines Register: Gov. Kim Reynolds said today that she would lift Iowa’s ban on nonessential surgeries starting Monday. “Nonessential” surgical and dental procedures in the state have been banned since Reynolds issued a proclamation on March 26. She also announced today that farmers markets could begin […]

Actor Ashton Kutcher tipped Reynolds to COVID testing programIowa Capital Dispatch: Actor Ashton Kutcher was the first person to suggest that Iowa look into Utah’s expanded testing program for COVID-19, Gov. Kim Reynolds said Thursday. Iowa this week launched TestIowa, the result of a $26 million contract with some Utah-based companies that will provide 540,000 COVID-19 […]

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs announced today that it has awarded $191,000 in grants to Iowa artists and small nonprofit arts organizations reeling from financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. The first-round relief grants were limited to artists and small nonprofit arts organizations. In total, 156 Iowa artists each received a $1,000 award; 14 […]

Broadlawns Medical Center is launching the Broadlawns COVID-19 Disaster Relief Fund and seeking additional community aid to support medical workers during COVID-19 response. The Disaster Relief Fund has been established to purchase personal protective equipment and other necessities to safeguard Broadlawns’ medical staff and patients; donations can be made online. Broadlawns is also selling CommUNITY shirts, mugs and […]

The Iowa Association of Business and Industry Foundation’s Business Horizons 2020 program, which was scheduled for July 19-23 at Central College in Pella, has been canceled due to COVID-19. The cancellation decision was simultaneous with Gov. Kim Reynolds’ school closure and summer event cancellation announcement this week, the foundation said in a news release. Applicants accepted this […]

U.S. business activity hits record lows amid coronavirus lockdownsReuters: U.S. business activity hit new record lows in April as the novel coronavirus severely disrupted manufacturing and services industry production, pushing the economy into uncharted waters. Data firm IHS Markit said on Thursday its flash U.S. Composite Output Index, which tracks the manufacturing and services sectors, plunged […]

MercyOne, one of Iowa’s largest health-care systems, invites community members to show their support for health-care and all essential workers by donating to the COVID-19 Relief Fund and then displaying printed heart decals in their windows or digital hearts on social media. Community members are invited to visit to order a T-shirt or window decals where […]

Coronavirus at meatpacking plants worse than first thought, investigation findsUSA Today: A rash of coronavirus outbreaks at dozens of meatpacking plants across the nation is far more extensive than previously thought, according to a review of cases by USA Today and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.  And it could get worse. More than 150 of […]

Tyson closing Waterloo plant indefinitelyWaterloo-Cedar Falls Courier: Following criticism from public health officials over coronavirus concerns, Tyson Foods today announced it is indefinitely closing its meatpacking plant in Waterloo. “Despite our continued efforts to keep our people safe while fulfilling our critical role of feeding American families, the combination of worker absenteeism, COVID-19 cases and community […]

Local distilleries Foundry Distilling Co. and Cat’s Eye Distillery are partnering to produce a blended whiskey called Des Moines Strong, with all proceeds benefiting the Iowa Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. Three hundred bottles of the initial Des Moines Strong release will be available in early May at local retailers, including Fareway stores, the distilleries said […]

UnityPoint Health announces furloughs, reduced staff hoursCedar Rapids Gazette: UnityPoint Health announced a reduction in staff hours, furloughs and pay cuts for its executive staff members starting next week as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials with the West Des Moines-based health system said today that these temporary measures “were needed to focus resources and […]

Tyson reopens Columbus Junction plant; new cases at JBS plant in MarshalltownDes Moines Register: Tyson Foods’ pork processing plant in Columbus Junction is resuming “limited operations” after closing for two weeks due to a coronavirus outbreak there. The company said the plant would reopen today. Tyson closed its location in southeast Iowa on April 6 after […]

To support its local communities during the COVID-19 crisis, Bank Iowa has launched Bank Iowa Helping Hand, a crowdsourcing initiative to identify both big and small needs across 23 Iowa communities. Through the initiative, anyone can submit a community-focused idea, task or charitable cause, and if selected, Bank Iowa will lend a helping hand through financial sponsorship […]

RAGBRAI called off for 2020 due to coronavirus concernsDes Moines Register: RAGBRAI organizers announced today that they will push this year’s ride — including the planned route — to July 25-31, 2021. The decision was made after “deep consideration” and conversations with key team members, organizers said. It will be the first time since its 1973 […]

More than 260 meatpacking workers test positive for COVID-19Iowa Capital Dispatch: More than 260 people were found to be positive for COVID-19 in expanded surveillance testing related to meatpacking plant outbreaks, the state reported Sunday. The positives from meatpacking employees made up 67% of the 389 total positive cases reported in Iowa Sunday. Iowa has recorded […]

MercyOne Medical Group-Central Iowa has consolidated its urgent care clinics and established a clinic specifically for patients with fever and upper respiratory infection symptoms, in an effort to provide better patient and staff safety and preserve personal protective equipment. MercyOne East Village at 1350 Des Moines St. now serves as the Fever and Upper Respiratory Infection Clinic. […]

Reynolds says schools will remain closed, Iowa will adopt phased reopening elsewhereDes Moines Register: Gov. Kim Reynolds plans to reopen Iowa using “a phased approach” that aligns with guidance issued by President Donald Trump, she announced today. The governor did not specify which businesses or entities may open first, or when they would get the green […]

Governor acknowledges suspected COVID-19 outbreak at Waterloo meatpacking plantDes Moines Register: Gov. Kim Reynolds on Thursday acknowledged a suspected COVID-19 outbreak at a meatpacking plant in Waterloo, where the local sheriff slammed “a small few” for not doing more to mitigate spread of the coronavirus. The potential outbreak at the Tyson Fresh Meats plant, which has […]

Reynolds tightens limits on activity in northeast Iowa in reaction to COVID-19 spikeDes Moines Register: Gov. Kim Reynolds today ordered people in northeastern Iowa to limit their activity, including keeping visiting to only immediate family members, in reaction to a spike in COVID-19 activity there. Almost all gatherings outside of immediate household members are banned in […]

Many members of the Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines today stopped work on residential construction sites to explain safety precautions being taken to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Work stopped for about 10 minutes at the sites, including Hubbell Realty Co.’s Della Vita development in West Des Moines. Photo courtesy of Hubbell […]

The Grinnell Mutual Group Foundation and Grinnell College, two of the largest employers in Poweshiek County, have joined forces with other community groups to provide funding for both immediate and post-COVID-19 pandemic needs in the area. Together, the two organizations are donating nearly $100,000 to four area resources. Jeff Menary, president and CEO of Grinnell Mutual, said […]

According to a new survey of health insurance companies recently released by eHealth Inc., nearly all the insurers surveyed said they are making changes to help consumers affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus. A strong majority (97%) say they are waiving out-of-pocket costs associated with testing. Sixty percent of insurer respondents say they are currently offering some form […]

Des Moines-based Proteus Inc., a nonprofit that provides services to farmers in Iowa, Nebraska and Indiana, is collecting masks to help protect farmers during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Farmworkers are essential workers,” said Proteus CEO Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel in a news release announcing the mask collection effort. “They contribute to supporting the food supply chain, agricultural economy, […]

Trump administration aims to buy milk, meat to help farmers hit by coronavirusReuters: The Trump administration plans to buy milk and meat from U.S. farmers as part of an initial $15.5 billion effort to help them weather the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said today. The decision comes amid rising pressure from […]

Columbus Junction pork processing plant hit hard by coronavirus with 186 positive cases​Des Moines Register: Soaring numbers of workers at the Columbus Junction pork-processing plant who have been sickened by COVID-19 have sparked fears not only for the employees’ health but also for the vitality of this small town and the continuity of the nation’s meat […]

Street Collective donates bikes for youths, materials for making face shieldsThe Des Moines Street Collective has donated four bikes through the Iowa Homeless Youth Centers and is donating used bicycle tubes to university students as 3D printing materials to make face shields for health workers, the collective announced this week. The collective’s shop is accepting material and […]

The Iowa Department of Education on Monday announced that 506 school districts and accredited nonpublic schools submitted plans to offer continuous learning opportunities for students this week while their brick-and-mortar buildings are closed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Continuous learning encompasses a variety of approaches used to extend learning beyond brick-and-mortar district buildings — […]

Coronavirus shutdown creates uncertainty throughout Minor League BaseballDes Moines Register: Profitability is hard to come by for most Minor League Baseball teams. Now, with each passing day without a game, teams are taking financial hits. They rely on their limited precious home dates to make as much money as possible. And with no end in sight […]

Collins Aerospace unveils temporary salary cuts, furloughs as result of travel declineCedar Rapids Gazette: Collins Aerospace announced it will institute a temporary pay cut for salaried employees and furloughs for hourly employees worldwide, following a drop in commercial and business travel during the coronavirus pandemic. Salaried workers will experience a 10% gross pay cut starting June […]

The National Alliance on Mental Illness — Iowa (NAMI Iowa) has postponed its spring fundraiser Beautiful Minds, originally scheduled for May 15. Dinner hosts participating in the event may either reschedule their dinner party to a new date or convert their party to a virtual format.  Fareway Stores announced a $200,000 donation to the Iowa Chamber of […]

Des Moines International Airport officials announced that the airport’s A Concourse has been temporarily closed, effective today. “We have made this decision in collaboration with our airline partners to ensure minimal impact on their operations,” airport spokeswoman Kayla Kovarna said in an emailed statement. “With low passenger traffic in the terminal, it is a proactive […]

2 new COVID-19 deaths, 123 new cases reported in IowaDes Moines Register: Two more people with COVID-19 in Iowa have died, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced today during a news conference, bringing the statewide total to 43. Another 123 people have tested positive for the illness, Pat Garrett, a spokesman for the governor’s office, confirmed. Reynolds during […]

Tama beef plant suspends operations after workers get virusAssociated Press: A beef processing plant in one of Iowa’s coronavirus hot spots has suspended production after several workers have become infected. National Beef announced that its Iowa Premium plant in Tama will be idled until April 20. The company said numerous employees had contracted COVID-19 and others […]

The Iowa Governor’s Conference on Public Health has announced new virtual sessions beginning April 14 with Dr. Rosie Ward’s keynote address “Rehumanizing the Workplace — Why it matters now more than ever.” The session will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. via Zoom and is free and open to all. Successive sessions will be held daily April 15-May […]

Iowa faces medical equipment shortageCedar Rapids Gazette: State public health officials today issued an emergency order due to a shortage of personal protective equipment, allowing health care providers to stretch their supplies by using and reusing masks, gowns and other items beyond the normal use period. Gov. Kim Reynolds reassured Iowans that positive cases of coronavirus […]

Iowa sees continued shortages of protective equipment for health workersIowa Capital Dispatch: Obtaining enough medical protective equipment will continue to be a challenge for Iowa, particularly now that the federal stockpile is nearly depleted, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Thursday. Reynolds said while the state is continuing to receive protective gear like masks and gowns, the […]

Public Health and GovernmentThe city of Ankeny is requesting that the public donate homemade masks for essential public workers to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The city is calling for donated masks to protect employees including public works, utilities, park maintenance and office staff. Fire/EMS and police staff will continue to wear appropriate PPE when coming in […]

Deere plans to make 225,000 face shields for health care workers fighting COVID-19Des Moines Register: Deere & Co. said today that it plans to make 225,000 protective face shields to help meet the needs of health care workers battling the coronavirus outbreak across the country. The farm and construction equipment manufacturer said the first 25,000 face […]

Alliant Energy has made a $2 million donation to its Hometown Care Energy Fund, which assists Alliant customers in Iowa and Wisconsin who need financial help to pay their energy bill during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Hometown Care Energy Fund is supported annually with funds from Alliant Energy shareowners, as well as voluntary contributions from employees, retirees and […]

Public Health and GovernmentGov. Kim Reynolds declared today a “Day of Prayer” in the state amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Reynolds announced the proclamation on Wednesday; today is the first day of Jewish Passover and is Christian Maundy Thursday, which precedes Easter. The Iowa Prayer Breakfast will be offered for free online this year.  BusinessThe Iowa Association of Business and […]