Home News Friday News, May 29th

Friday News, May 29th


COVID-19 Deaths Reach 500 in Iowa

(Des Moines, IA) — Fifteen more Iowans have died from coronavirus bringing the state death toll to 500. The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 246 more COVID-19 cases for a total of 18-thousand-502 since the pandemic began in March. State health officials say 383 people are hospitalized with
coronavirus, 112 patients are in intensive care and 67 are on ventilators.
All 99 Iowa counties now have confirmed COVID-19 cases.



Plymouth County Reports First COVID-19 Death

(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.



Public Health Department Identifies Storm Lake Meat Processing Plant As Having A COVID-19 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.



Tyson To Temporarily Close Storm Lake Pork Processing Plant

(Storm Lake) — Tyson Foods has decided to temporarily halt operations at its pork processing plant in Storm Lake.
The company indicated the closure is due, in part, to a delay in COVID-19 testing results and team member absences related to quarantine and other factors. Tyson will idle harvesting animals and finish processing over the next two days. Additional deep cleaning and sanitizing of the entire facility will be conducted before resuming operations later next week. State officials
confirmed a COVID-19 outbreak was confirmed at the Storm Lake Tyson pork plant on Thursday.



Iowa Agriculture Secretary Announces Plan To Assist Pork Producers

(Des Moines) — Food production, food processing, and 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.


Finkenauer Praises Extension Of Paycheck Protection Program

(Washington, DC) — Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer is applauding U-S House passage of a bill to improve the Paycheck Protection Program. The Iowa Democrat says Congress took an important step today to improve the loan program that has been so vital to aiding local communities and Main Street businesses across Iowa’s First District amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Finkenauer said, “by helping entrepreneurs who play by the rules access loans, we’re making this program more responsive and tailored to the needs of our small businesses.” She also said there’s still more work to do after evidence of big business using their power and influence to claim P-P-P loans.



DNR Denies Company From Selling Water

(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has rejected for a third time a company’s request to export millions of gallons of water from the Jordan aquifer. Pattison Sand wants to send the water to drought- stricken western states. The D-N-R has told the company it failed to provide
enough information to determine whether that would be a “beneficial use” of Iowa’s water, as required by law. Pattison mines silica sand outside Clayton for use in oil and gas fracking. It wants to drill a well to pump almost 450 million gallons of water each year, then sell that water to an Oregon company.



Northwestern College Football Player Dies After Being Shot

(Orange City, IA) — Northwestern College in Orange City is mourning the loss of a student-athlete. Nineteen-year-old Jahbrel Rounds was killed in a shooting in his hometown of Wichita, Kansas. Rounds was shot Thursday and died of his injuries on Memorial Day. The 19-year-old was a defensive back
on the Red Raider football team last season. Northwestern coach Matt McCarty says Jahbreel had a positive effect on our team, players and campus in his short time with us. He added “we will honor Jahbreel by how we grow through this and how we love and serve others.”