IowaBio wants to provide our members useful information during the COVID-19 pandemic. This newsletter compiles information on state, federal and industry action to combat the virus and its impacts.
If your company is helping respond to COVID-19, IowaBio wants to know about it. Please, send any information about what your biotechnology company or organization is doing to help, to Jessica Hyland at Jessica@iowabio.org.
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Past IowaBio COVID-19 Update newsletters are now available at www.iowabio.org/COVID19 and can be found under the Industry News tab on the IowaBio website.
Note: We are resuming our COVID-19 Update Newsletter this week, after a one-week hiatus. Iowa’s statistics below reflect the comparison to last Friday’s numbers.
Friday, Governor Reynolds signed a new proclamation continuing the Public Health Disaster Emergency and taking a number of actions to advance Iowa’s Return to Learn strategy.
The proclamation directs all state agencies, school districts, and local governments to focus on preparing to safely welcome back students and teachers to school in-person in the fall.
It also provides clarity for when a school may move to primarily remote learning, authorizing it when:
Parents select remote learning as the best option for their family;
The Iowa Department of Education in consultation with the Iowa Department of Public Health approves a temporary move to online learning for an entire building or district in response to public health conditions;
A school, in consultation with state and local public health officials, determines that individual students or classrooms must be temporarily moved to online learning; or
A school chooses to temporarily move to online learning because of severe weather instead of taking a snow day.
Schools that submit plans without this 50 percent requirement would need a waiver from the Department of Education. The full proclamation is online here.
“Given the importance of education to our children and to the people of Iowa, we owe it to them to just roll up our sleeves and get our schools back up and running safely and effectively,” Reynolds said. “Iowa law says that in-person instruction is the presumed method of instruction for the school year. Schools must prioritize in-person learning for core academic subjects including science, math, reading and social studies. And the Legislature has made it clear that most schools cannot provide more than half of their instruction to any student through remote learning unless I authorize remote learning in a proclamation.”
Reynolds said Friday that her decision in April to close schools for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year was “data driven,” and said she has taken the same approach in ordering districts to welcome students back into the classroom this summer.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Friday announced the launch of the new Small Business Utility Disruption Prevention Program. The program will provide short-term relief to eligible small businesses and nonprofits that faced significant hardship in the payment of utility bills for service provided during the months of disruption to their business due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program offers grants up to $7,500 to be applied to utility bill debt for eligible small businesses.
“Iowa’s small businesses and nonprofits keep our communities and our economy moving forward, and they have been hit hard in these unprecedented times,” said IEDA and Iowa Finance Authority Director Debi Durham. “We are proud to work with our utility partners statewide through this new program to help reduce the burden and position small businesses for recovery and growth.”
A funding allocation of $14.5 million from the CARES Act is available to IEDA for this initiative. To be eligible to receive assistance, businesses must have:
a physical (non-residential) location in Iowa and 50 or fewer employees;
not received funding from the IEDA’s Small Business Relief Grant Program;
experienced a COVID-19 loss of revenue on or after March 17, 2020, that resulted in unpaid bills for electric or natural gas service provided between March 17, 2020, and June 30, 2020; and
remained in operation or re-opened at the time of application.
For a full list of eligibility requirements, additional information and to apply, visit iowabusinessrecovery.com. Applications will be accepted between July 17, 2020, and August 21, 2020, or until funding is depleted, whichever comes first. Applications will be reviewed in the order received. Assistance will be awarded based on application completeness and eligibility until all funds have been exhausted.
Questions regarding the Small Business Utility Disruption Prevention Program can be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1.855.300.2342.
Test Iowa sites in Storm Lake and Marshalltown will be moved to new locations in those communities Friday. The moves are occurring to accommodate preparations at both sites for the start of the school year. Both will be relocated over the weekend and will reopen for testing on Mon., July 20, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Storm Lake site, currently located at Storm Lake High School, will move to Sunrise Pointe Golf Course at 1528 East Lakeshore Drive. The Marshalltown site, currently located at Marshalltown Community College, will move to the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office at 2369 Jessup Avenue.
Test Iowa is a statewide initiative to expand COVID-19 testing. Locations and hours of operation for all test sites can be found at testiowa.com or coronavirus.iowa.gov.
Iowa announced an additional 879 positive COVID-19 cases on Friday morning — the highest one-day total since the pandemic began. The previous highest count in a 24-hour period was 757 on May 2.
Currently, IDPH has reported on the state’s coronavirus dashboard, 38,834 Iowans have tested positive, up 5,358 from our update last Friday morning, with a total of 418,887 tested. 51 additional deaths were reported since our last update, bringing the total to 793 deaths. Now 27,949 Iowans have recovered. The latest on hospitalizations, including how many patients have been admitted in the last 24 hours can be found here.