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BREAKING NEWS

Governor urges shelter in place as COVID-19 cases rise

By Staff | Mar 30, 2020

An additional 38 positive tests for Covid-19 as of Sunday has brought the statewide total to 336. The closest cases to Emmet County within the state are previously reported cases in Kossuth and Dickinson counties to the east and west.

Across the border in Minnesota, Martin County has 21 cases and Jackson County has one.

The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control, as well as local health professionals continue to urge every person to wash their hands frequently with soap and warm water when available and hand sanitizer when not, to stay in their homes unless it’s necessary to go out, and to maintain a social distance of six feet from others.

Deputy director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, Sarah Reisetter, said her office’s projections of the virus’ peak in Iowa is expected to come in the next two to three weeks.

The recommendation to close Iowa’s schools for four weeks began March 19 and would have schools reopening April 13 under the current plan. Reisetter said all recommendations and requirements are subject to change at any time.

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst joined the governor’s Sunday press conference remotely. Ernst detailed the Phase 3 critical relief the Senate and House passed last week giving relief to farmers, workers, seniors, small businesses, child care providers, students and Veterans as well as the health care system.

Phase 1 provides resources to federal, state and local authorities. Phase 2 provids paid sick leave, free COVID-19 diagnostic testing and increased support for food for seniors and children.

Phase 3 provides direct assistance to Americans with $1200 stimulus checks going out to individuals, $2400 for married couples, and $500 per child. Workers and small businesses are protected by allowing local banks and credit unions to provide federally-backed loans for small businesses to keep employees on payroll and pay bills, with loans forgiveable if they maintain payroll; creates a new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program that covers employees and self-employed workers; increases access to loans and grants for child care centers; provides for health care funding and financial assistance to health care workers and hospitals; waives student loan payments for six months; bolsters direct assistance to farmers and producers; and more.

Ernst last week developed a proposal to immediately direct over $350 million dollars in the Presidential Campaign Election Fund to purchase specialized face masks and other personal protective equipment for emergency services and health care workers.

Governor Reynolds praised the public and private sectors for stepping up to acquire and produce additional hand sanitizer and personal protective equipment. Reynolds said it was not necessary to overstock with items from the store. “Our supply chains are still moving. Get out and get what you need, but you don’t need to buy a lot of extras.”

The Estherville News will have continuing updates of COVID-19 as the situation continues.