Home News Thursday Afternoon News, May 28th

Thursday Afternoon News, May 28th


Plymouth County Reports First Death Associated With COVID-19

(Le Mars) — Plymouth County is reporting its first death associated with the COVID-19 virus. Tara Geddes, Plymouth County’s Community Health Director confirms the news.

More than half of the state’s deaths associated with the COVID-19 virus have been with elderly residents of long-term nursing care facilities. However, Geddes says the Plymouth County death was not from a long-term care nursing facility. In fact, according to Geddes, Plymouth County has been fortunate not to have any cases of the coronavirus detected at our long-term

The latest tally for positive COVID-19 cases in Plymouth County is listed at 119 cases, with 78 of those have fully recovered. The Community Health Director says we are starting to see the numbers stabilize.

Although Geddes says we are starting to have some good news regarding the containment of the virus, she anticipates the possibility of a second wave.

Geddes says of the 119 positive cases reported in Plymouth County, most are within the middle-age demographic.

Across the state and region, many meat processing facilities have fallen victim to having an outbreak, or more than ten percent of the workforce identified as being affected by the virus. Locally, Geddes says her office has worked closely with the large employers to mitigate the spread of the virus into their facilities.

The Plymouth County Community Health Director recommends people continue to wear a mask or face covering while in public, and to utilize space distancing.



Reynolds Focuses On Food Production During Daily Briefing

(Des Moines) — Food production and food processing, along with food security were the topics of focus for Thursday’s daily COVID-19 briefing. Governor Reynolds informed the media the importance of keeping open the meat processing facilities, and why they are considered essential businesses.
Reynolds began by telling reporters Iowa’s ranking with agricultural commodities.

The governor says her administration understands the potential impact to the nation’s food supply, the state’s economy and to our farmers. She then explained the financial hardships of our state’s farmers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig joined the governor during her news conference to make an announcement that hopefully will offer relief to pork producers who have had to euthanize some of their herds due to the reduced processing capacity at our meat processing facilities. Naig says the
situation is making some improvements, those improvements are slow. He says as of today, the nation’s meat processing capacity is running at about 80 percent.

Naig says farmers are accustomed to adversity, and he tried to lift the spirits of farmers by saying better days are ahead. Reynolds says because of the COVID-19 virus, there has been a greater need for food supplies for the state’s many food banks and food pantries. She praised those companies, farmers, and others who have recently donated food and cash to the state’s
food banks.



Storm Lake Tyson Pork Plant Now Considered To Have An Outbreak

(Des Moines) — Iowa Department of Public Health officials are saying an outbreak of COVID-19 has occurred at the Tyson pork processing facility located in Storm Lake. According to Sarah Riesetter, the Deputy Director with the Iowa Department of Public Health, the meat processing facility has had 555 reported positive cases of coronavirus. The plant employs just over
2,500 employees. An outbreak is defined when ten percent or more of the employees are absent due to the virus. Reisetter informed reporters during the daily briefing that the Iowa Department of Public Health does have to rely on the cooperation of the company.

Reisetter says the state department of public health may not know of all the testing conducted for a company’s employee base.

The state public health official says while the public is interested in knowing about a potential outbreak, it is more important people know and understand what they can do to protect themselves, by wearing a mask or face covering, direct sneezes and coughs into our sleeve, and wash our hands frequently. Tyson has a second facility, a turkey processing plant, also located in Storm Lake, but there has not been any mentioned if the turkey processing facility has an outbreak of COVID-19.



Iowa Casinos Prepare For June Re-Opening

(Des Moines, IA) — The 19 state-licensed casinos are allowed to re-open on June 1st and are starting to release their plans for getting the slot machines working again. Gary Palmer of Prairie Meadows in Altoona says they will wait until June 15th to open. Palmer says they have to make so many different changes because of the requirements to open up at 50 percent occupancy and with six-foot distances. Palmer says they will shut down some of the entrances, take everyone’s temperature when they come in, and require everyone to wear masks. He says they will have to clean the slot machines as players move around – and will open up without table games right away. The Diamond Jo Casinos in Dubuque and Worth County, the Wild Rose casinos in Clinton, Emmetsburg, and Jefferson will all open on June 1st. The Hard Rock Casino in Sioux City will open June 2nd. The Lakeside Casino in Osceola will open June 3rd.



Another 14.5 K Unemployment Claims in Iowa

(Des Moines, IA) — COVID-19 layoffs appear to be slowing in Iowa. There were just over 14-thousand-500 unemployment claims May 17th through 23rd. That’s a slight increase from the previous week – but included more than 12-hundred claims from workers who live in another state. Initial weekly claims hit a record of 64-thousand-194 in mid-April. The number of unemployed Iowans dropped from 187-thousand-375 the previous week to 180-thousand-679. Manufacturing was again the industry with the largest number of claims followed by self-employed and health care workers.



3 Iowans Killed in West Central Missouri Crash

(Warsaw, MO) — Three Iowans are the victims of a deadly crash Wednesday morning in western Missouri’s Benton County. The Missouri State Highway Patrol says a car driven by 20-year-old Richard P. Davis of Fort Dodge missed a curve on Highway 7, left the road and struck a tree. Davis and two passengers – 18-year-old Matayah McLoughlin and a 14-year-old boy – died at the scene. Troopers say no one in the car was wearing a seat belt.



Cow Barn Destroyed in Dubuque County Fire

(Bernard, IA) — Investigators in Dubuque County are trying to determine the cause of a fire that destroyed a dairy barn. Firefighters were called to th Daniel Weber farm early this morning (Thursday). The barn and milking parlor were engulfed in flames when crews arrived. The barn and all its contents are considered a total loss. The damage is estimated at 750-thousand dollars. A barn with 300 hogs inside was destroyed in a Memorial Day fire caused by severe weather in Dubuque County.