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.
If IowaBio can assist you in getting information out, connecting with public officials, or support your company in another way, please do not hesitate to reach out.
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.
COVID-19 Vaccine Update
Please see the recent COVID-19 vaccine information posted to the Iowa Department of Public Health web page, under the COVID-19 Vaccine Information tab. Updated information includes the following:
Iowa's COVID-19 Vaccine Planning Brief 12.3.20
If your company has registered as a healthcare provider, you can ask questions regarding COVID-19 vaccine to the COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center at 1-800-831-6293 ext. 1 or email COVID19Vaccine@idph.iowa.gov.
Friday, BIO launched a new educational website, covidvaccinefacts.org. The goal of the website is to address frequent questions about COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine development, with a specific focus on educating both providers and the general public across the US. The website will be continually updated.
Low-income Housing Assistance
On Friday, Governor Reynolds announced that a total of nearly $9 million in assistance is available to assist eligible low-income Iowans who are at imminent risk of eviction and individuals who have lost housing to quickly regain housing stability. The funding will also provide support for homeless shelter operations. The funds are made available through a supplemental appropriation to the Emergency Solutions Grant program through the federal CARES Act.
“Throughout the pandemic, our focus has always been on protecting the lives and livelihoods of Iowans,” said Gov. Reynolds. “The funds announced today will assist those at risk of eviction while also providing support to homeless shelters supporting Iowa’s homeless population at this critical time. I appreciate the continued collaboration with our federal partners in support of the state’s pandemic response.”
“Providing housing assistance for Iowans in need remains a top priority,” said Iowa Finance Authority Executive Director Debi Durham. “The ability for Iowans to thrive and prosper begins with a safe, stable place to call home and the program announced today will be essential in helping Iowans get back on their feet.”
The Emergency Solutions Grant program will help to prevent households from becoming homeless due to eviction, assist Iowans who have lost their home to eviction regain rental housing as well as provide homeless shelters with financial support to assist with operations and outreach as they work to serve Iowans in need and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
To be eligible for eviction prevention assistance to avoid homelessness, Iowans must have an income of 50% of the area median income or less and be at imminent risk of eviction in addition to meeting other eligibility criteria. To be eligible for assistance in rapidly regaining housing, Iowans must be currently experiencing homelessness.
Examples of assistance available to eligible individuals include rent and utility payments, including in arrears, legal assistance, application fees, security and utility deposits, moving costs, case management and credit repair. All financial assistance is paid directly to landlords and service providers.
Individuals in need of assistance must apply through the Coordinated Entry helpline in their area, which is available along with additional eligibility and program information at iowahousingrecovery.com.
Thirty-five agencies were awarded a total of $8.8 million in Emergency Solutions Grant Program funds. The full list of awards is available here. The assistance will remain available until all funds are exhausted or September 30, 2022.
The Emergency Solutions Grant program is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Iowa Finance Authority in partnership with participating Iowa service agencies.
The Test Iowa site in Pottawattamie County, currently located at the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs, will be relocated after testing concludes at 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4. It will reopen Monday, Dec. 7 at 8 a.m., at the Southwest Iowa Transit Agency facility located at 3236 Nebraska Avenue in Council Bluffs.
The new site offers an enclosed structure, allowing drive-thru testing to continue throughout the winter months.
The Council Bluffs site is the last of the state’s Test Iowa drive-thru sites to be relocated for winter. The other sites are located in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo and Davenport. An additional 21 Test Iowa clinic sites are located in communities across the state.
Individuals who wish to be tested at any site must first complete an online assessment at testiowa.com, and schedule an appointment. Locations and hours of operation for all test sites can be found at testiowa.com or coronavirus.iowa.gov.
Currently, IDPH has reported on the state’s coronavirus dashboard, 244,846 Iowans have tested positive, up 5,159 from our update Friday morning, with a total of 1,251,392 tested. 114 additional deaths were reported since our last update, bringing the total to 2,717 deaths. Now 160,837 Iowans have recovered. The total 14 day rolling average positivity rate is 16.4% the past 7-day average is 13.4%. The latest on hospitalizations, including how many patients have been admitted in the last 24 hours can be found here. There are currently 1,000 hospitalized patients.
School district statistics including positivity rates by county can be found here. According to guidance issued by the Iowa Department of Education, schools may petition to go to hybrid or online learning with less than 50 percent in-person instruction when the per county percentage positivity rates are above 15 percent in a county on average over the past 14 days (rolling average) AND 10% absenteeism among students is expected for in-person learning. School district waiver requests and whether they are granted or denied are listed here.
Currently 74 (of 99) counties are above a 15 percent positivity rate over the past 14 days. Click here to search county data for today.
Total Cases 14,462,527
Total Deaths 280,135
Total Cases 67,170,838
Total Deaths 1,537,785