WATERLOO -- Effective immediately, children do not have to accompany the adults picking up grab-and-go meals at Iowa’s 303 meal sites, most of them at K-12 schools.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture granted the waiver Thursday in an effort to ease the burden on Iowa families and to get food to the students who need it at this critical time, according to a news release.
Parents and caregivers will be asked to share the name of the school each child attends, if the child is of school age.
“We want to get healthy meals into the hands of students while minimizing the potential exposure to COVID-19,” said Ann Lebo, director of the Iowa Department of Education. “We understand that it isn’t practical for all children to accompany their parents and caregivers at meal sites.”
The grab-and-go meals — which include lunch and a breakfast for the following day in some school districts — are typically offered during the summer. But, with K-12 schools now closed, the program was activated this week during the national coronavirus health crisis.
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As the two major hospital systems in Black Hawk County find themselves on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic, they're at the same time on the frontlines of finding a possible treatment for the deadly respiratory illness.
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Reicks said he's appreciative of any help that would come his way. But, like many other industries upended from coronavirus, he has little indication of what the future may bring.
"We have people adopting seniors they have never met, they have no relationship with," he said. "It's bringing the community together."
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New coronavirus infections by day in Iowa as of April 27, 2020, per IDPH daily data.
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Burmese refugees in Waterloo, as well as other refugees who don't speak English very well, have been left in the dark about coronavirus' impact. EMBARC hopes to change that.
The state now has recorded just shy of 4,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 107 deaths, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.
A resident at Western Home has now tested positive for COVID-19.
Iowa Irish Fest, which draws more than 40,000 people to downtown Waterloo each summer, is not canceling plans due to the coronavirus pandemic at this point.
The Theatre UNI Digital Performance Festival will feature 13 shorts by student directors, Sunday through May 8. Viewers can enjoy a new short daily on Theatre UNI's Facebook and Twitter platforms.
The country's largest meatpacking union, which represents 1.3 million workers in food and retail, said on a press call Thursday that more than a dozen of their members had died from COVID-19.
Omega Cabinetry is temporarily closing its Waterloo plant and putting employees on furlough until May 4. An employee recently tested positive for COVID-19.
Iowa is just shy of 4,000 recorded cases of coronavirus statewide, and just under 100 deaths, health officials announced Thursday.
Black Hawk County tallied one additional death for a total of four deaths and 379 cases, while Tama County added one death for a total of 225 cases and seven deaths.
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New coronavirus cases in Iowa as of April 22, 2020, per IDPH daily data.
"Tyson’s closing their plant will prove to be a positive step forward in preparing our community for the flattening the curve," said Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart.
Jim Orvis, of Waterloo, died Sunday after testing positive for the coronavirus. He had worked in the laundry department at Tyson Fresh Meats.
Gov. Kim Reynolds announced a high of 482 new positive cases of coronavirus and four new deaths on Tuesday, noting a third of the new cases were the result of more testing at the state’s meatpacking plants.
"I receive calls from folks that are terrified," the Rev. Belinda Creighton-Smith told the Black Hawk County Board of Health during an emergency meeting Tuesday morning.
Locker rooms at the Cedar Falls Recreation and Fitness Center will be more user-friendly and provide greater privacy.
At least 42% of all positive cases of coronavirus in Black Hawk County are from Tyson Fresh Meats, local health officials said Monday.
Despite employee fears of scant worker protections and officials' calls to temporarily shutter Tyson Fresh Meats in Waterloo, the governor said Monday she has no plans to order Tyson to close.
All riders will be required to fill out a request form by June 01, 2020 to be eligible for the full refund
Another 389 Iowans have tested positive for COVID-19, a spike more than twice as large as the highest one-day tally previously announced.
As the effort to produce face shields for medical professionals geared up in the Cedar Valley, some educators found themselves becoming part of the supply chain.
Coronavirus, and the restrictions brought upon by attempts to limit the virus' spread, have impacted nearly every corner of the economy. But it's largely business as usual for home builders and construction crews.
Gardeners are ready to get their hands dirty, and local nurseries and garden centers are happy to oblige by being creative in assisting customers in the midst of COVID-19 restrictions.
State reports new daily high of 191 virus cases.
Grow Cedar Valley is surveying businesses on impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
New coronavirus cases/deaths in Iowa as of April 17, 2020, per IDPH data.
WATERLOO — Black Hawk County has reported its first death from COVID-19, officials disclosed Thursday.
Most of Northeast Iowa gatherings of anyone outside immediate family are, beginning at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, banned through April 30.
Tyson disputed accounts from employees and others who spoke about working conditions inside their Waterloo plant, saying no employees have moved between plants and additional cleaning and protective measures were indeed in place.
As Black Hawk County's confirmed coronavirus case count has risen dramatically in the past week, workers at Tyson Fresh Meats -- many afraid of losing their jobs -- are sounding the alarm about working conditions and alleging their employer isn't providing information, allowing workers to come in with respiratory symptoms and otherwise covering up the presence of the deadly virus.
State health officials announced four new deaths Wednesday, as well as a seventh outbreak in a long-term care facility.
A UNI professor wanted to lend a helping hand to residents and staff of nursing homes so she launched the Nursing Home Art Box Project.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority has provided more than $935,000 to help 50 small Black Hawk County businesses suffering from the COVID-19 health crisis.
Clarksville pastor Val Swinton, after being hospitalized 21 days with COVID-19, has recovered to the point that he will return home Wednesday.
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Waterloo Leisure Services could lose more than $385,000 in revenue from coronavirus shutdowns of the Cedar Valley SportsPlex and Young Arena.
The total number of deaths is now 49.
The Waterloo Regional Airport will get nearly $1.1 million in federal funding to help offset losses due to declining passengers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A total of 82 counties now have confirmed cases of the virus.
A beef processing plant in one of Iowa's coronavirus hot spots has suspended production after several workers have become infected.
For the first time in Black Hawk County, a child tested positive for coronavirus.
The Jerald Sulky Co. in Waterloo is providing space for volunteers to assemble face shields for UnityPoint Health during the COVID-19 crisis.
It's not readily apparent why the farthest northeastern corner of Iowa has such a comparatively high rate of coronavirus.
Cedar Valley educators have been working to formulate and implement plans that will continue providing students with learning opportunities while schools are shut down.
The state recorded 122 new cases of coronavirus and three new deaths, while Black Hawk County added another six cases on Saturday.
Order for relief comes as coronavirus claims 2 from Linn County.
A case of the coronavirus was discovered in Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community, and that resident is now in the hospital, administrators of the facility said.
"Simply put, the number of cases in Black Hawk County is increasing," she said. "This is the start of a surge we have been preparing for."
Pews will be empty at Cedar Valley churches on Good Friday and Easter, but pastors will offer their uplifting, hopeful message of Christ's rebirth online and through social media platforms.
Deere & Co. has started making 225,000 protective face shields to be distributed to health-care workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
A new high of 125 new cases of coronavirus were announced Thursday, along with 2 deaths in Linn County.
Knutson and other florists are feeling the impact in sales, particularly now with Easter lilies.
"In what felt like the blink of an eye, everything had changed.”
Officials at Pillar of Cedar Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation said Wednesday their facility has gone more than two weeks with no other cases.
Statewide, Iowa added 97 new cases, bringing the total to 1,145. There was one new death --- an elderly adult in Linn County, bringing the state total to 27.
Districts have until Friday to submit plans to the state on the voluntary enrichment or credit classes they'll offer, much of which will require or include online components.
Details weren’t available, but fire officials said they don’t believe the department member contracted the virus while dealing with the public on the job.
The Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 Tuesday against a resolution.
A total of 1,048 cases have been confirmed in Iowa since testing began March 7.
Divided opinions across Iowa over Gov. Kim Reynolds not issuing a shelter-in-place order were on display Monday in the differing decisions made by two Cedar Valley city councils.
With just 12 positive cases, Black Hawk County continued to have a low rate of coronavirus infection relative to other counties in the state so far, but health officials warned that residents needed to continue following social distancing guidelines.
Clarksville pastor Val Swinton, hospitalized with COVID-19, has improved enough to start being weaned off of a ventilator, according to his son.
The worker at Winding Creek Meadows tested positive on Saturday.
The governor reiterated her refusal to order a shelter-in-place was "data driven" as she announced 78 new positive cases of coronavirus in Iowa and three new deaths on Monday.
The state's death toll now stands at 22.
The Cedar Falls City Council will consider a resolution Monday urging Gov. Reynolds to implement stricter guidelines on people's movements in the face of the coronavirus threat.
Martin Culpepper, a Waterloo East High School graduate, is now a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology working with a team that developed a rapid manufacturing process for face shields needed in the fight against coronavirus.
Like many others whose livelihoods depend at least in part on people gathering in groups, musicians have seen their gigs dry up due to coronavirus restrictions. But they're also finding ways of continuing to play while practicing social distancing.
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John Deere Cylinder Works in Moline, Ill., has temporarily halted production after an employee there has a confirmed case of COVID-19.
A roundup of pictures from our coverage of the coronavirus threat in the Cedar Valley.
With a population of a little more than 17,000, the number infected translates to 0.09% of the population in Tama County.
Dunking produce in soap and water, even if you rinse well, will likely leave behind soap residue that can cause stomach upsets, nausea and vomiting.
An employee of the John Deere Foundry Operation in Waterloo tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, Deere and Co. officials said Thursday.
In a time of social distancing, ambulance workers don’t have the luxury of keeping back 6 feet as they tend to the sick and injured.
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Black Hawk County has its first case of community spread of coronavirus, raising the response level from "elevated" to "moderate," officials said Tuesday.
Martin Bros. Distributing is laying off some employees as the food service company braces for "significant disruption" from coronavirus-related shutdowns.
The state reported fewer new COVID-19 cases Tuesday from the day before, but it's too early to tell if that's due to social distancing measures flattening the curve or an anomaly.
The 67-year-old minister for Clarksville Church of Christ over the past 22 years is in a difficult position at the hospital.
Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson had "several" conversations with organizations and groups about their failure to abide the large gathering rules.
Gov. Kim Reynolds confirmed Monday that there has been an outbreak of the coronavirus at an eastern Iowa long-term care facility, where 21 people have been infected.
The fourth death came out of Linn County.
"Our incident command center has been in the process for weeks for all the what-ifs. We are preparing for a surge we hope doesn’t happen.”
Northeastern Iowa communities are being inspired to stage teddy bear hunts to cheer children and unite neighborhoods by the award-winning children’s book , “Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen.
Teachers in Hudson and Cedar Falls organized parades and drove past students' homes as schools finished the second week of a shutdown to help stop the coronavirus from spreading.
A local manufacturing operation stands ready to provide critical needs to industries that may be lacking supplies during the widespread coronavirus pandemic.
The church's lot was filled with more than 100 vehicles for a 10 a.m. service, which a worship band and speaker led from a flatbed trailer.
Area counties reporting new positive cases are Buchanan, Benton, Tama and Fayette counties.
The superintendents of Waterloo and Cedar Falls schools said they were hoping that they would get a week's notice if Reynolds decided to extend the time that public schools would not be in session.
The Iowa Department of Public Health announced the 34 new cases just before noon Thursday.
The Cedar Valley's educational and manufacturing community are stepping up to produce face shield and other items desperately needed by medical providers battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s not needed right now, with Iowans observing voluntary restrictions, she says
Black Hawk County officials will begin "a series of meetings" to prepare for a shelter-in-place scenario absent any statewide shutdowns.
"I was thinking, if I had it, I would feel it by now -- I was relatively asymptomatic. I was stunned."
Dr. Alex Ulfers is a 2007 graduate of Cedar Falls High School.
The couple have done live workouts on Facebook at 4:30 p.m.
Black Hawk County has one new positive case of coronavirus, with local health officials saying it was not related to the other three cases but was travel-related, meaning the county currently had no documented community spread as of Tuesday.
Black Hawk County considers local "shelter-in-place" option if governor fails to act.
"We are two people who never met, but who are trying our best to make a bad situation better for people."
Waterloo Schools started its "grab-n-go" meal program Monday for children 18 and younger while Cedar Falls Schools is starting its food distribution effort Tuesday.
"We do not, I repeat, we do not want to end up taking people to jail on criminal complaints because of a unwillingness to follow the governor's proclamation," said Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson.
Waterloo Community Schools' employees will still be paid while classes are not in session due to the COVID-19 pandemic after the Board of Education approved policy suspension.
Residents can use the online form to report credit card fraud, harassment, theft, lost property and minor vehicle accidents on private property or request extra patrols.
"We pretty much were scrambling to come up with new plans," said Rebekah Hosford, youth services librarian at the Cedar Falls Public Library.
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Tama County reported 3 new cases
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Waterloo City Council members approved an ordinance allowing Mayor Quentin Hart to declare a civil emergency due to the coronavirus. Hart then did exactly that.
Rules related to employee leave and vacation as well as virtual instruction at Iowa's public universities were waived Wednesday as Board of Regents declared a state of emergency.
Iowa Department of Health spokesperson Amy McCoy told The Courier on Wednesday the case is a person over 81 years of age.
Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill that will expand the role and abilities of physician assistants in Iowa, her office announced Wednesday.
"We're not just going to test everybody," said Black Hawk County's public health director. "(People) might make assumptions. But the symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to other respiratory illnesses."
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