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Gov. Reynolds tours northeast Iowa, surveys COVID-19 impacts

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Reynolds at S&D Cafe
Gov. Reynolds at S&D Cafe

DECORAH, Iowa. (KWWL) ---- Governor Kim Reynolds toured parts of northeast Iowa this morning, hearing from residents about how COVID-19 is impacting their lives.

Governor Reynolds' first stop of the morning in Waukon -- helping church volunteers load food boxes into trunks.

This was made possible by several billion dollars in federal relief funding that came through the USDA to food vendors. This money is then being spent filling trucks up with boxes of food, to place into the trunks of anyone who drove through the distribution site, located at Iron Ridge Church.

Church volunteers say the distribution hub had a constant line all morning, "a mile long" at times.

"We started out thinking, could we possibly give a truckload of food away? And it's actually been quite the opposite," Marlan Minks said.

Volunteers say people as far as Wisconsin and Illinois showed up in that line.

Gov. Reynolds, for her own part, was recently placed under the microscope by several outlets after it was discovered she used COVID-19 relief funds to pay members of her staff.

Reynolds says the use of funds in this manner was wholly appropriate, and she says her team worked with the OIG to make sure of that.

"The Federal CARES dollars allows for that. It specifically says that," Reynolds said.

After a cup of joe at S&D Cafe in downtown Waukon, Reynolds went to Decorah to talk rural healthcare with Gundersen Health & Decorah officials.

The staff at Gundersen says the meeting concerned itself chiefly with COVID-19, and that it was productive.

"She did offer us updates about the COVID task force and the work that they're doing, and that they're trying to get a Test Iowa site up in northeast Iowa," Stephanie Hill said.

AJ Capuano

Dubuque bureau reporter, KWWL

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