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News and resources regarding COVID-19

Noon Newscast 2.17.20

State of Iowa

It’s funnel week for the Iowa Legislature.  The end of the week is the deadline for bills to clear legislative committees in the Hour or Senate.  Some of the proposals include strengthening the laws concerning sex crimes in the state.

South Dakota lawmakers say they are turning their focus to the state budget, though Republicans and Democrats have laid out different visions of how to use that money.

Legislators have settled on revenue projections that are $19 million more than Gov. Kristi Noem's predictions in December.

Democrats want the state to fund inflationary pay increases for teachers, state employees and service care providers.

They also want their Republican colleagues to pay $32 million from the state's education trust fund. Republicans, who dominate both legislative chambers, are expected to take a more conservative approach to ensure the state balances it budget.

Public health officials are telling Iowans that it’s not too late to get their flu shots. That’s because a different strain of flu has been more prevalent this season.

The influenza B virus strain usually shows up later in the season. But public health officials say this year the strain has shown up much earlier. This hasn’t been the case for nearly three decades.

Caitlin Pedati is the state medical director at the Iowa Department of Public Health. She says higher levels of this strain could put more young people at risk.

What that means is that for younger people, especially who might not have been exposed to this virus quite as much, it could be a little bit more of a challenge for them for their immune system to sort of fight this off.

So far, there have been 22 flu-related deaths in Iowa this season and 12,000 deaths nationwide. I’m Natalie Krebs, Iowa Public Radio news.

Hospital officials say an evacuee from the virus zone in China being held in quarantine in Nebraska who had developed a mild cough has tested negative for a new virus that has infected more than 67,000 people globally.

The woman is one of 57 US evacuees being quarantined for Coronaviris at a Nebraska National Guard training base just southwest of Omaha.