January 25, 2021

People pulling together

As we face these challenging times, it is heartwarming to see friends and neighbors pull together to help one another. People are making donations to the food pantry, homemade facemasks and supporting our great small businesses. Those on the front lines such as healthcare/supporting staff, public safety, grocery store workers, mail deliverers, truck drivers, utility workers and many others deserve our gratitude for all they are doing. We must also thank our caring small business owners and staff for their efforts during these tough times. Please continue to support them. To donate food call the Salvation Army at 641-792-6131; to donate homemade masks and gowns call Jasper County Emergency Management at 641-792-7555; and for health-related questions call Jasper County Public Health at 641-787-9224 or simply call 211.

All of us want to see the day when we fully open up for business. This must be done in a responsible manner. A decrease in new cases and hospitalization rates and an increase in testing capabilities with contact tracing are all required to begin any phase in re-opening. State and Federal officials have identified tracking data and guidelines (Opening Up American Again). Let’s stick to those data and guidelines as we proceed. To help Iowa increase its COVID-19 testing rate, please go to testiowa.com and take the online survey to see if you meet the criteria to receive a test.

State and Federal officials have been working to provide assistance to employees and employers during these unprecedented times. Unfortunately, we know not all needs are being met. I have been working with many small business owners and individuals to help get them connected to available resources and aid. Below is a list of resources that may be beneficial:

• Iowa Business Recovery/Iowa Economic Development: small business loan and grant information, iowaeconomicdevelopment.com

• Iowa Workforce Development, unemployment applications and information, iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov

• Iowa Finance Authority, additional finance information, iowafinance.com

• Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources, sba.gov/

• Legal issues due to COVID-19 public health crisis. Call the Legal Hotline at 800-332-0419.

It is important for all of us to assist with the mitigation efforts and to practice good social distancing. Minimizing disease spread and reducing the strain on our healthcare system will save lives. In addition, it helps in protecting our most vulnerable population. I have family members and loved ones who have tested positive for COVID-19; I can’t stress enough the importance of these mitigation efforts.

I am so appreciative of all the productive communications we have been having with city and county leaders, school administrators, business leaders, community organizations, public health, public safety, emergency management and many others during this crisis. Jasper County residents can be assured many caring and dedicated people are doing all they can to meet our needs. To all that have been working hard to provide essential services and those caring for those in need, thank you.

Take care and be safe.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if I can be of any assistance; email wes.breckenridge@legis.iowa.gov or call me at 641-521-6714.