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Iowa News

April 8, 2020

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is defending her use of a tool to help guide the state’s response to the outbreak that critics have called arbitrary and unscientific. The matrix developed by the Iowa Department of Public Health looks at four data points in six regions of the state. If any one region hits 10 on a 12-point scale, the matrix calls for the potential implementation of a shelter-in-place order. Critics include a top infectious disease researcher and other medical experts. They argue that the data points are backward-looking rather than preventive because they trigger stricter interventions only after more people are infected and hospitalized.


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — While most governors have imposed stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus, leaders of a handful of states have rejected such action. Nine Republican governors have refused to mandate that people stay at home. Local leaders have taken action in some of those states. North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Arkansas are the only states where no one is under a stay-at-home order. The lack of action from those governors has frustrated health experts and left some residents puzzled. An infectious disease expert at the University of California-Berkeley says the longer officials wait, the harder it is for such orders to have a substantial impact on the virus’ spread.


IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Public Health has released the identities of two nursing homes where outbreaks of the coronavirus have infected residents and contributed to a large share of the state’s known infections. The facilities were identified Tuesday as the McCreedy Home in Washington County and Premier Estates of Toledo in Tama County. Health officials had withheld that information from the public Monday. Those homes and Heritage Specialty Care in Cedar Rapids are the sites of the three outbreaks at long-term care facilities confirmed in Iowa. Under the state’s definition, that means three or more residents have tested positive.


FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) — A judge has ordered DNA testing on a hat left at the scene of a fatal 1976 shooting that an Iowa inmate hopes will prove he has been wrongly imprisoned for decades. Judge John Wright ordered the hunting cap shipped to a Virginia laboratory for testing that could show whether Gentric Hicks or someone else was responsible for killing 28-year-old Jerry Foster at a Fort Madison motel. Scientists will seek to extract genetic material from inside the cap to create a DNA profile that could be compared to Hicks. Results from the Bode Cellmark laboratory could be available in coming months. Iowa has never had an inmate exonerated by DNA evidence.

Illinois News

April 8, 2020

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Fire Department says a firefighter with more than 16 years of experience has died from complications of COVID-19. Mario Araujo joined the department in October 2003, department spokesman Larry Langford tweeted Tuesday night. Currently 46 department employees have COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.


CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago “L” passenger was killed when he was shoved from a Loop business district subway platform into the path of a train. Chicago police say the attack on the unidentified male victim occurred during the Tuesday afternoon rush hour. The victim was standing on the platform when he was approached by three assailants and shoved to the tracks and struck by the train. Police say the attackers left the station and no arrests have been made.


CHICAGO (AP) — Officials say they believe a man who was detained at the Cook County Jail in Chicago has died of complications of the coronavirus. An autopsy will be conducted to determine cause of death for 59-year-old Jeffery Pendleton. It could be the first virus-related death of a detainee in the Chicago jail. Two have died in state prisons. Pendleton’s death on Sunday comes as the number of positive tests of detainees has climbed dramatically in recent days. Illinois’ death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 380 on Tuesday among 13,549 infections. Illinois is girding for its worst days in dealing with rising deaths and new infections.


CHICAGO (AP) — The Green and Libertarian parties in Illinois have filed a federal lawsuit claiming the governor’s stay-at-home order has impeded the petition process necessary to get on the November ballot. The lawsuit filed in Chicago last week alleges the directive intended to curb the spread of coronavirus has made it “practically impossible” to safely collect signatures in person. Candidates not from established parties have from March 24 until June 22 to get signatures. The lawsuit seeks to have the signature requirements waived or suspended for November. The lawsuit names Gov. J.B. Pritzker, whose office didn’t return a message Tuesday.

Wisconsin News

April 8, 2020

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — If Wisconsin was a test case for voting in the age of coronavirus, the test did not go well for many voters. Thousands were forced to congregate for hours in long lines outside polling stations on Tuesday with no protective gear. Thousands more stayed home, unwilling to risk their health in the midst of a statewide stay-at-home order and unable to be counted because requested absentee ballots never arrived. Voters reported being afraid, angry and embarrassed by the state’s unwillingness to postpone their presidential primary elections as more than a dozen other states have already done. No results will be released at least until Monday in accordance with a court order.


MILWAUKEE, Wis. (AP) — Black voters in Milwaukee said the decision to go ahead with Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary amid the coronavirus pandemic was especially problematic in their city, the state’s largest. The city of 590,000 has a black population of nearly 40 percent and has suffered roughly half of the state’s coronavirus deaths, many of them minorities. Officials closed all but five of the city’s 180 polling places, forcing hundreds of voters to congregate at only a handful of voting sites even as the Democratic governor warned people to avoid crowds as a way to slow the spread of the virus. The conservative-learning Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected the governor’s attempt to delay the election.


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — If you’re a census slacker and haven’t yet filled out the form for the 2020 head count, the federal government is trying another way to get in touch with you. Starting Wednesday, the U.S. Census Bureau is mailing out millions of paper forms to homes whose residents haven’t yet answered the once-a-decade questionnaire. About a month into the start of the 2020 census for most U.S. residents, the self-response rate is approaching half of all households. Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan are setting the pace with response rates over 50%. Alaska, West Virginia and New Mexico are lagging with response rates ranging between a quarter and a third of households.


MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Prosecutors have charged a teenager with fatally shooting a University of Wisconsin physician and her husband who were the parents of his girlfriend and leaving their bodies at the school’s arboretum. Eighteen-year-old Khari Sanford was charged Tuesday with two counts of party to the crime of first-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon. Authorities say Sanford’s girlfriend was the daughter of the victims, Dr. Beth Potter and her husband Robin Carre. Joggers found the victims at the side of the road at the arboretum near the Madison campus on March 31. A friend of Sanford’s, 18-year-old Ali’jah Larrue, is charged as an accomplice.