Iowa reports first child’s death linked to COVID-19

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State officials have confirmed the first death of a child in Iowa caused by complications of COVID-19.

The child, who died in June, was under the age of five and “had significant underlying health conditions,” according to an Iowa Department of Public Health news release.

Coronavirus test results this weekend pushed the statewide positivity rate past 15%, meaning 15% of coronavirus test results in a 24-hour period were positive. Northwest Iowa’s Plymouth County has an even higher 14-day positivity rate of over 215 — the highest in the state. That has prompted the superintendent of the Marcus Meriden Cleghorn and Remsen Union Districts to announce the start of school will be delayed due to “the substantial uncontrolled spread of Covid-19” in the area.

In south central Iowa, Twin Cedars Community School District in Bussey started the school last Wednesday, but announced this weekend there will be no school today or tomorrow after “multiple staff members” tested positive. A majority of elementary students in the district will have to quarantine for 14 days.

Last Thursday, Governor Kim Reynolds praised Indianola Schools for the way it handled a positive Covid case in its year-round elementary school.

“The school year and the pandemic mean Iowa schools will need to be flexible in dealing with the rapidly changing face of Covid-19 in our communities,” Reynolds said. “…There just is no one-size-fits-all approach to reopening schools, but we’re here to work with districts to find the one that works for them.”

The governor has ordered schools to begin in-person and switch to online instruction only when 10 percent of students are absent and the 14-day rolling average of positive Covid test results in the district is at least 15 percent. However, Reynolds has given more than a dozen districts dealing with damage from the August 10th derecho permission to start the school year online.

The Grinnell Newburg School Board has voted to delay the start of the school year until September 8th, the day after Labor Day. Grinnell Superintendent Dr. Janet Stutz said the storm caused an estimated $1.5 million in damage to district facilities.

“We have to have our buildings ready to open and we’ve had mostly roof damage,” Stutz says. “Obviously, the track and the football field — quite a bit of damage over there, light poles and stuff like that…but mostly roof damage to all of our buildings.”

If damage to the high school in Grinnell can’t be repaired in time, Stutz said the district may apply for a waiver to start high school classes online September 8. More than 160 families in the Grinnell Newberg district have asked that their children begin the school year online.

— Radio Iowa

This story originally appeared on the Voice of Muscatine. Read More local stories here.

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