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News and resources regarding COVID-19

Two Coronavirus Patients in Omaha are Improving; Iowa Will Get New Test Kits

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Officials say the condition of two of the people who tested positive for COVID-19 in Omaha after being evacuated from a cruise ship in Japan has improved significantly. Two of the 15 people being monitored at the University of Nebraska Medical Center were being cared for at the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit because of the severity of their symptoms. 

The Iowa Hygienic Lab soon should have the capability to test patients for the coronavirus that is spreading rapidly across the world, Iowa’s top public health official said this week.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is providing testing kits for COVID-19 to state public health laboratories, including the state of Iowa’s Coralville-based lab.

State Epidemiologist and Medical Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health Caitlin Pedati spoke with state senators during a Human Resources Committee meeting yesterday at the State Capitol. She said testing for the respiratory virus currently can be done only at CDC facilities.

Pedati said there were errors noted in the first testing kits sent to the state public health labs, and that the CDC was in the process of reissuing those kits. She estimated Iowa should receive those kits in the next two weeks.

Iowa court officials say 15 people have applied to fill an Iowa Supreme Court vacancy.  Justice David Wiggins retires in March. 

Each of the 15 applicants will get 20 minutes in which they'll be interviewed by the Iowa State Judicial Nominating Commission on March 6 in the Supreme Court Courtroom in Des Moines. Immediately following the interviews, the commission will begin deliberations to select a slate of three nominees to forward to Gov. Kim Reynolds for consideration. Reynolds will then have 30 days to appoint a new justice.

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