Local Coronavirus Impacts

The Kossuth County Advance will continue to post information regarding impacts of the COVID-19 coronavirus on local events and activities as they are received. Some press releases of more-involved decisions are included. Send information on your organization's activity updates to news@algona.com.

 

Announced Monday, March 16:

-Algona City Hall and Algona Public Library are closed to the public: Here is the press release: Effective immediately, Algona City Hall and the Algona Public Library will be closed to the public until further notice. Employees will continue to work and be available to assist the public by phone. Persons needing to conduct city business should call City Hall at 515-295-2411. If it is necessary to meet in-person, appointments may be scheduled. The Algona Public Library will be closed to the public beginning March 17. The Library is in the process of developing alternative plans to allow patrons to call in advance to schedule a pickup of library materials by car. Once established, details on this process will be announced. The Library’s phone number is 515-295-5476. The City has taken these preemptive measures out of concern for the health and well-being of our community. The City will continue to issue updates on our Facebook page and city website (www.ci.algona.ia.us).

- Fenton Sons of the American Legion soup supper set for March 22 has been postponed.

- Updated information from the Sioux City Diocese of the Catholic church regarding cancelation of public mass and other activities. See the press release at the bottom of this list. 

- All Kossuth County offices are closed to foot traffic. They will continue to provide business and support via telephone, email or by appointment. Kossuth County Emergency Management coordinator David Penton said, "We are committed to the well being and safety of our employees, visitors and the community." 

- Algona Senior Center is closed until April 13. Meals on Wheels deliveries will continue.

Algona Family YMCA will close at 6 p.m. Monday, March 16, and remain closed tentatively until April 1. It includes the YMCA childcare services.

- All Kossuth County Extension / ISU Extension / 4-H programs, seminars and events are canceled through April 4.

- Whittemore Public Library will be closed Tuesday, March 17, through Tuesday, March 31, after which time the situation will be reevaluated. The library is open Monday, March 16, 2-6 p.m. If you have questions or concerns, call City Hall at 515-884-2265.

- Algona Parks and Recreation Department statement: We have cancelled activities that are held at Algona school locations during this 4 week school shut down and 60 day CDC directive. This includes the remainder of our 5th/6th youth boys and girls basketball program and the Alumni Basketball Tournament that was to be held on the 3rd and 4th of April. Spring Special events such as Pitch, Hit, Run and The Live Healthy Iowa Track meet will not take place this Spring. We will finish our youth baseball/softball sign up that has a deadline of this Wednesday the 18th of March, but no decisions on coaches meetings, practices, or league schedules have been made. We are waiting on word from the Emmetsburg Little League Board of Directors on if the season will remain the same of be adjusted due to school schedules and governmental directives. With any questions or concerns, please call the Parks & Recreation department at 515-295-9251.

- Algona Aquatic Center statement from the city: We will be re-evaluating dates and times for Swim team sign up and the candy bar fundraiser, lifeguard trainings, and opening day plans.  I will keep you informed as we progress through the end of March and into April. With any questions or concerns, please call the Parks & Recreation department at 515-295-9251.

- Algona City Parks statement from the city: We have frozen the Veteran's Park shelter house schedule from today the 16th of March until May 1st. Rentals on the books will go on as reserved. Days beyond May 1st can be still be booked, until otherwise announced. We will do a thorough job of cleaning and disinfecting park managed facilities such as the Veteran's Park shelter, the City's Welcome Center, and other public restrooms as they come online this late spring and summer. With any questions or concerns, please call the Parks & Recreation department at 515-295-9251.

- Algona Public Library Statement: While schools are closed the Library is suspending programs until further notice. We will be reevaluating on a day-to-day basis. We are currently keeping the space exhibit available, but will be vigilant in wiping things down. The discovery toys are not out for children to play with. We will be reevaluating our programming and an appropriate end date as we see how the next couple of week's progress.

- Algona Area Chamber of Commerce Avalanche 500 promotion extended through April 30, and the drawing for the winner will be May 4.

- Algona Area Chamber of Commerce Friday coffees postponed through April 15

- Algona Area Chamber of Commerce Women's Networking Event postponed to a later date.

- Legislative forum scheduled for Saturday, March 21, in Algona has been canceled.

- Bishop Garrigan Gala public event is canceled, however, mobile bidding and the raffle will still occur.

- West Bend Knights of Columbus fish fry for Friday, March 20, is still on, but it will be for carry-out only.

- Algona Public Library group activites and events are canceled until further notice.

- Wesley Public Library closed along with schools.

- Christian concert and presentation by Mark Smeby, Burt Presbyterian Church, March 22, postponed to a later date.

 

Announced Sunday, March 15:

- West Bend-Mallard Schools closed Monday, March 16, due to announcement from Gov. Reynolds. More details to come.

- Algona's and Bishop Garrigan's schools are closed until April 13, per Gov. Reynolds' request. 

- North Union Schools closed Monday, March 16.

- Animal Rescue Family pancake breakfast is postponed. No makeup date has yet been determined.

- Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds today recommended all Iowa schools close for the next four weeks. No action has yet been taken by local school districts on that, as of 8:30 p.m. Sunday. Letters regarding attendance, visitor access and travel are posted at the websites of the local districts. 

- Iowa Democratic Party postpones county conventions for the time being. Kossuth County's was scheduled for Saturday, March 21.

- The Iowa Legislature has suspended its session for 30 days, effective immediately.

- First United Methodist Church in Algona has no activities for two weeks starting after worship services March 15.

 

Announced Saturday, March 14:

From the Iowa Judicial Branch: Today, the Iowa Supreme Court issued an order postponing all criminal jury trials until April 20 and all civil jury trials until May 4 unless the jury has been sworn in. The postponements are to protect public safety by mitigating the impact of coronavirus/COVID-19. Clerk of court offices throughout the state will remain open.

 

Announced Friday, March 13:

 Kossuth Regional Health Center canceled $5 jewelry sale on March 26, and suspended its Auxiliary program for safety of its members. See press release below.

• Kossuth County Board of Supervisors will hold a special session Monday, March 16, at 10 a.m., to discuss continuity of operations with heads of county departments due to the virus.

• The storm spotter training scheduled for March 31 in Wesley has been canceled.

Announced Thursday, March 12:

• Kossuth County activated its Emergency Operation Center. The team includes representatives from Kossuth County Emergency Management, Kossuth Regional Health Center, Kossuth County Public Health, local law enforcement, Kossuth County schools, Kossuth County Board of Supervisors and others as needed. 

The group coordinates efforts to plan and prepare for needs in the region as COVID 19 continues to evolve.

• The Iowa High School Athletic Association is limiting attendance to just 100 people representing Bishop Garrigan High School - and other schools - at Friday's state championship games. The general public is not being allowed into Wells Fargo Arena.

• The Wesley First Responders fish fry scheduled for March 20 has been postponed.

 

KRHC Announcements

KRHC cancels Jewelry Sale and other events - updated visitor restrictions and volunteer program suspended

In the interest of putting the safety of patients, employees and community members first, Kossuth Regional Health Center has decided to postpone all events scheduled to be held at the hospital, enact additional visitor restrictions and temporarily suspend the Auxiliary volunteer program.

"We are acting out of an abundance of caution and want to do everything we can to prevent the spread of illness in light of health concerns with the coronavirus, influenza and other respiratory illnesses" said Dar Elbert, administrator of Kossuth Regional Health Center.

All events, outside meetings and gatherings scheduled to be held at KRHC will be canceled or postponed through April 15. This includes the upcoming $5 Jewelry Sale, scheduled for March 26. In addition, the Auxiliary volunteer program will be suspended temporarily, to ensure the health of the volunteers.

"Our volunteers are a valuable resource and we don't want to put their health at risk.  People who are older tend to be a higher risk for complications of coronavirus and influenza, and many of our volunteers are retirement age and older.  We will miss their presence and hope to bring them back when our situation changes," Elbert said.

Visitor restrictions have been updated, with additional restrictions on the age of visitors and number of visitors allowed.

Patients in all areas of KRHC are restricted to only two visitors per patient. Patients will need to designate two people allowed to visit at the time of admission. In addition, visitors are encouraged to stay out of common areas of the hospital, including waiting rooms. Visitors must be age 15 or older. No visitors age 14 and under will be allowed.

All visitors must be free from illness, including:

• Fever

• Sore throat

• Cough

• Diarrhea

• Vomiting

• Runny nose

Limited exceptions, typically in the case of a terminally ill patient, may be allowed.  Exceptions must be approved by KRHC nursing staff.

For more information about COVID-19, call the Kossuth County Public Health hotline at 515-295-4451.  Online resources are available at www.cdc.gov or www.idph.iowa.gov. For more information about KRHC, visit www.krhc.com

 

 

Diocese Announcements:

New announcement, March 16, 6 p.m.

Re: Updated diocesan guidelines as response to COVID-19 as of 3/16/20

 

Following the recommendations released by the Centers of Disease Control to “cancel large events or gatherings that could contribute to the spread of COVID-19,” Bishop Walker Nickless issued the mandate to suspend all Sunday and public Masses effective immediately.

 

This suspension will extend for eight weeks, and then will be re-evaluated as the coronavirus situation develops. The CDC recommends no gathering of groups of 50 or larger during this crisis. Parishes within the diocese will resume normal activities when it is safe to do so.

 

“This has been the most difficult decision I have made during my time as bishop,” Bishop Nickless explained after making the decision to cancel all Masses, which will include Holy Week, the high point of the Catholic Church’s liturgical year. “The health and well-being of all people in the diocese, as well as all Catholics, is of the utmost importance at this time. I ask all the faithful for their understanding and to join me in prayer for the end to this public health crisis.”

 

During this period, Catholics in the Diocese of Sioux City are dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass, according to the bishop’s mandate.

 

Liturgical and parish guidelines for this 8-week period will include:

 

-       Celebration of public Masses - All public celebrations of the Mass will be suspended. Pastors are encouraged to broadcast private Masses via electronic means for their parishioners.

-       Holy Week – Holy Week liturgies are suspended

-       Baptisms – Baptisms will only be celebrated with immediate family and godparents. There will be no large group baptisms.

-       Weddings – Only immediate family members and witnesses are to attend weddings. Clergy are not to attend related social functions. Parishes are not to host receptions.

-       Funerals – Funerals may be celebrated only with immediate family members. Parishes may not host funeral dinners. The funeral vigil, wake or other events should all be held the same day as the funeral.

-       Holy Week – Holy Week liturgies are suspended.

-       Confessions - The sacrament of reconciliation (confession) will be conducted by appointment only.

-       Sacrament of Confirmation - All spring celebrations of the sacrament of confirmation are suspended.

-       First Communion - The celebrations of First Communion are suspended.

-       Quinceañeras - Quinceañeras are suspended.

-       Eucharistic Adoration - The formal exposition of the Eucharist or adoration will be suspended.

 

Additional Directives:

-       Church buildings may remain open for private prayer at the discretion of pastors.

-       All conferences, retreats, festivals or similar events in the diocese and the parishes are to be suspended.

-       All religious education, faith formation classes, RCIA and related activities are suspended.

-       Parish staff are to conduct meetings if essential, and if possible, electronically.

-       Parish staff members are asked to telecommute, if possible.

-       Parish governing boards are strongly urged to meet electronically.

 

Diocese announcement, March 13:

In an unprecedented move, Bishop R. Walker Nickless of the Diocese of Sioux City issued mandates to the priests and deacons of his diocese Friday afternoon after consulting with his advisors regarding the current COVID-19 worldwide pandemic. The actions were made in an effort to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

In his memo, Bishop Nickless has dispensed “all Catholics over age 65 and anyone, regardless of age, with underlying medical issues, from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.” Also, those with a sincere belief that they are at risk or are ill do not have to attend Mass.

The distribution of the Precious Blood in the form of wine in the chalice at Communion is to be suspended immediately. The bishop also “strongly recommended that Communion in the form of the Body of Christ, or host, be received in the hand as opposed to on the tongue.

Bishop Nickless has decided to cancel several diocesan events “in the abundance of caution,” including:

·       The March 28 Women’s Conference in Storm Lake

·       The April 2 Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City

·       The April 4 Men’s Conference in Le Mars

·       All deanery holy hours and meetings of priests and deacons in the diocese

The memo also explained pastors at all diocesan parishes are mandated to remove holy water from “hand fonts,” and must provide hand sanitizer at church entrances. Other mandates include:

·       Greeters should refrain from shaking hands or touching parishioners and should not hand out bulletins or other materials.

·       Remove missalettes, hymnals, papers and other loose materials from the pews. If missalettes and hymnals are distributed at the door, those should also be removed.

·       Remind the lay faithful, if possible, to sit with some distance between one another.

·       Take the collection in such a way that eliminates handing the basket from person to person.

·       Suspend the procession of the offertory gifts and keep them covered on the credence table.

·       Do not hold hands during the Lord’s Prayer, as there is no liturgical directive that requires this.

·       Eliminate the Sign of Peace and the subsequent shaking of hands, as liturgical norms allow this to be omitted at Mass.

·       Re-enforce the practice of hand sanitizing for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.

·       Be particularly mindful of cleansing the vessels used during Mass after each use.

·       Refrain from greeting the priest and others after Mass with handshakes or physical contact.

Bishop Nickless asked that pastors consider the following two recommendations:

·       Pastors are advised to evaluate all parish activities and determine whether or not they should be cancelled or postponed.

·       Priests, deacons and extraordinary ministers of holy Communion to the sick at nursing homes and hospitals should follow the guidelines established by those institutions.

Regarding the diocesan Women’s Conference and Men’s Conference, Fred Shellabarger of the Office of Evangelization and Discipleship explained all preregistration fees will be refunded. The office will consider organizing similar events in the future when it is safe to do so.

This bishop also asked the clergy and staff to join him in prayer for all those throughout the world affected by the coronavirus to join him in prayer, as well as the medical personnel assisting them.

The public should follow www.scdiocese.org and the diocesan social media accounts in this rapidly changing situation.

 Effective immediately, Algona City Hall and the Algona Public Library will be closed to the public until further notice. Employees will continue to work and be available to assist the public by phone. 

City Hall 

Persons needing to conduct city business should call City Hall at 515-295-2411. If it is necessary to meet in-person, appointments may be scheduled. 

Library 

The Algona Public Library will be closed to the public beginning March 17th. The Library is in the process of developing alternative plans to allow patrons to call in advance to schedule a pickup of library materials by car. Once established, details on this process will be announced. The Library’s phone number is 515-295-5476. 

The City has taken these preemptive measures out of concern for the health and well-being of our community. The City will continue to issue updates on our Facebook page and city website (www.ci.algona.ia.us). 

 Effective immediately, Algona City Hall and the Algona Public Library will be closed to the public until further notice. Employees will continue to work and be available to assist the public by phone. 

City Hall 

Persons needing to conduct city business should call City Hall at 515-295-2411. If it is necessary to meet in-person, appointments may be scheduled. 

Library 

The Algona Public Library will be closed to the public beginning March 17th. The Library is in the process of developing alternative plans to allow patrons to call in advance to schedule a pickup of library materials by car. Once established, details on this process will be announced. The Library’s phone number is 515-295-5476. 

The City has taken these preemptive measures out of concern for the health and well-being of our community. The City will continue to issue updates on our Facebook page and city website (www.ci.algona.ia.us). 

Kossuth County Advance

14 E. Nebraska St.

Algona, IA 50511  

Phone: (515) 295-3535

Fax: (515) 295-7217

news@algona.com

ads@algona.com

circulation@algona.com

www.algona.com

www.facebook.com/hallmarkintegratedmedia/

Comment Here