Just weeks after businesses fully reopened in Iowa, COVID-19 cases have begun to rise. By week's end, Quad-City health officials were sounding the alarm that a surge was underway, caused largely by young people, lax about protective measures, and out-and-about at bars and restaurants.
Here's a look at the week:
Friday, June 19
- The week began with 1,216 positive COVID-19 cases in the Quad-Cities, up from 1,162 the previous Friday. Illinois' Rt factor, the number of cases one positive case causes, was .73. Iowa's was .96. Anything over 1.0 means the virus will spread more quickly.
Saturday, June 20
- Mississippi Valley Fair Director Shawn Loter said the fair board would decide next week if the fair, scheduled for Aug. 4-9 in Davenport, would go on. Even if it does, the big grandstand concerts appear unlikely, Loter said.
- Long-term care centers in Illinois are allowed to schedule outdoor visits as of Friday, June 26, an association for hundreds of facilities in Illinois stated in a public message to its members after the Illinois Department of Public Health announced it was relaxing visitor restrictions.
- Iowa’s Rt — the number of people who contract the virus from one positive case — was 0.96, just on the good side of 1.0, which indicates the virus is spreading, according to the website Rt.live. But that number has been steadily increasing since it bottomed out at 0.78 on May 4.
- Among Iowa’s population, 6% are Latino and 4% are black. And yet a whopping 27% of coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the state’s Latino population, and 10% among black Iowans.
Sunday, June 21
- Quad-City hospital systems have adequate personal protection equipment. Genesis Health System feels "very positive about our supplies," Lisa Rogalski, director of materials management. The hospital system has returned to normal use. Brian Soesen, regional market director at UnityPoint Trinity, said that hospital system also feels confident in their supply chain.
- Nursing homes and assisted living facilities, however, are still struggling to have enough to be able to reopen to visitors. The main stickler is a requirement that staff members would have to wear a different surgical mask for every resident encounter. A staffer delivering dinner, for example, would have to take off and put on a different mask for each room. Facilities said that is not possible, financially or from a supply standpoing.
- White inmates in Illinois are having their sentences shortened during the coronavirus pandemic at a higher rate than Black inmates, an analysis of public data by a prison reform group shows.
- University of Illinois students will return to campus in the fall, but those who don’t or can’t return to the central Illinois campus can take classes online, according to the university. Those who have signed up to live in university housing or freshmen required to live on campus will have to submit special documentation and receive approval to learn from a distance.
- Purina held a drive-through pet food pantry at Modern Woodmen Park on Saturday, to help pet owners struggling financially because of COVID-19.
Monday, June 22
- The Illinois Department of Public Health said overall there have been 136,762 cases since the start of the pandemic and 6,647 deaths in Illinois. The Iowa Department of Public Health said the state has had 685 COVID-19 deaths and 25,865 cases of the virus as of Sunday.
Tuesday, June 23
- Gov. JB Pritzker announced Illinois would enter Phase 4 as of Friday, June 26. Restaurants would be allowed to offer indoor service at 50% capacity, and gatherings of 50 people — up from 10 — will be allowed in Illinois, including at weddings and funerals; fitness centers, movie theaters, museums and zoos will be allowed to reopen with capacity limits and health guidelines in place. Industry-specific guidelines from the state can be found at Illinois.gov/businessguidelines.
- Illinois Wesleyan University will start fall classes a week early on Aug. 17, have classes on Labor Day, cancel fall break and end the semester by Thanksgiving. All classes and final exams will be finished by Nov. 20.
- John Deere Seeding finished making face shields recently, and in the end it made and donated more than 400,000 of them.
- A Kwik Shop employee at the 2805 Telegraph Road, Davenport, location, has tested positive for the coronavirus. The convenience store was closed overnight for cleaning.
- Joe Biden, the former vice president and presumptive Democratic nominee for president, will deliver the keynote address during the Iowa Democratic Party’s annual Hall of Fame event, Sunday, July 26. The event will be virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Wednesday, June 24
- Iowa Lottery Authority revenues will exceed projections for the fiscal year ending June 30 despite a coronavirus-related slowdown in sales. Lottery game sales increased by $15.4 million and proceeds grew by $6.3 million, Lottery officials told the board Tuesday. Prizes were $19.4 million ahead of budget.
- Major League Baseball issued a 60-game schedule Tuesday night that will start July 23 or 24 in empty ballparks as the sport tries to push ahead amid the coronavirus.
- The 2020-2021 Moline school year budget projects a $1.9 million education fund deficit caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but administrators said that shortfall will likely be reduced.
- Within weeks of Gov. Kim Reynolds agreeing to allow bars and restaurants to open to customers, Iowa's two major college towns, Ames and Iowa City, are seeing spikes in coronavirus cases among young adults, raising concerns among local health officials and prompting some businesses to again close their doors.
- The Board of Honor Flight of the Quad-Cities has voted to postpone all remaining flights for 2020.
- Iowa's Rt factor — which measures the rate of spread of COVID-19 — climbed to 1.02. Any number higher than 1.0 means the virus is spreading in the state. Illinois' Rt was 0.78.
Thursday, June 25
- Confirmed cases of COVID-19 are increasing in the Quad-Cities — especially among people under 30 — and it's largely because people are lax about social distancing, wearing masks and following other health guidelines, health officials said Wednesday. "There is an increase in reported positive test results and one thing is clear — we are seeing substantially more of these cases in young adults," Dr. Louis Katz, an infectious disease specialist and medical director at the Scott County Health Department, said during Wednesday's health departments briefing. "It is the combined effects of reopening and an unwillingness to practice mitigation efforts."
- A community-based COVID-19 drive-through testing site will open in Rock Island on Monday, according to the Rock Island County Health Department. The testing site is expected to remain available through July 10 with testing not available July 4. The site is at the QCCA Expo Center, 2621 4th Ave., Rock Island. Hours will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Xtream Rock Island Grand Prix announced the annual Labor Day weekend event will be postponed to 2021 over concerns about the coronavirus.
- U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced the American Assistance for American Companies Act¸ a bill that would close a loophole that allows large multinational corporations that keep their corporate citizenship in a low-tax foreign jurisdiction from qualifying for federal assistance under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. “For years, inversion loopholes have allowed American companies to evade their tax obligations. These companies, which have schemed their way out of paying U.S. taxes, shouldn’t get a dime of American taxpayer funded CARES Act financial relief,” Durbin said in a news release.
Friday, June 26
- COVID-19 confirmed cases in the Quad-Cities continued to climb. Scott County confirmed an additional 30 cases, Rock Island an additional 8. There were 1,338 confirmed cases in the two counties, 38 deaths.
- Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed legislation shielding businesses from many coronavirus-related lawsuits. “It’s a balance,” Reynolds said. “We want to make sure that we have doctors and nurses and care facilities that are willing to provide these critical services, and we want to make sure that businesses feel confident in opening back up. But the bill also has appropriate exemptions that still permit some lawsuits for reckless or willful misconduct. So I think it strikes the balance that it needs to.”
- Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said the state was ready to move into Phase 4 starting Friday, but if COVID-19 numbers increased, a reversion to previous phases is possible. “I'm not afraid to protect the people of Illinois by moving a region back to an earlier phase if we see a surge,” he said. “Ours will not be one of the states that takes no action in response to a return to the peak.”
- Niabi Zoo announced it would reopen on Saturday. To monitor capacity, all zoo guests, including Niabi members and pass holders, must reserve timed tickets online at niabizoo.com before visiting. The zoo's safety response plan includes increased sanitation schedules in high touch-point areas; face covering requirements for staff and guests inside open buildings, restrooms and any time groups or individuals may be closer than 6 feet. There also are hand washing and sanitation stations installed around the zoo.
- Palmer Hills Golf Course announced an employee has tested positive for COVID-19. The Palmer Grill will serve only pre-packaged foods
- Iowa's state tax revenues declined $563.6 million, or 22.6%, from March 19 through June 23, when compared to last year. Legislative Services Agency fiscal analyst Jeff Robinson said some of the decline is the impact of coronavirus on the economy, but some comes from the delay in collecting state income taxes.
- The families of three meat plant workers in Black Hawk County who died after contracting the coronavirus sued Tyson Foods and its top executives, saying the company knowingly put employees at risk and lied to keep them on the job.
- The not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Davenport-Moline-Rock Island was 14.1% in May, down from 15.2% in April, the Illinois Department of Employment Security announced.