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News and resources regarding COVID-19

NEWS 6.18.20: More C-19 Deaths in Siouxland, IA Economic Recovery, Unemployment Rates and More

Winnebago Public Health Department

SPM NEWS 6.18.20 - 4:04PM

The Winnebago Public Health Department reported on Thursday two people have died due to COVID-19 for a total of three deaths on the Winnebago Reservation.  Sixty-six have tested positive with 50 recovered from the disease.

There are two more deaths in the Sioux City metro area.  One in Dakota County, and an older woman between the ages of 61 and 80 in Woodbury County.

Forty-two people have died in Woodbury County and 33 in Dakota County for a total of 75.  There were 11 new cases in Woodbury County for a total of 3,036 and three new cases in Dakota for a total of 1, 746. (number from Thursday afternoon. You can see real-time numbers at coronavirus.iowa.gov)

During a news conference Thursday morning,  Governor Kim Reynold says her focus is now on the recovery of the state after the COVID-19 pandemic.   

June 18, 2020
Credit Associated Press

She issued an executive order establishing the Governor’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board that includes one Siouxland representative, Barbara Sloniker from the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce. 

Reynolds says people at high risk for the disease still need to take precautions.  She also announced a test Iowa site will open Monday in Dickinson County at the fairgrounds in Spirit Lake.

That is one spot in the state still seeing an increase in coronavirus infection.

Nebraska's governor has told local governments they will get no federal money meant to help fight the effects of the coronavirus pandemic if they require people to wear masks in public buildings. The Omaha World-Herald reports that the mandate from Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts seems at odds with his usual message encouraging people to wear masks to slow the spread of the virus. But his spokesman, Taylor Gage, says the governor “does not believe that failure to wear a mask should be the basis for denying taxpayers' services.” Some $100 million has been alloted to Nebraska counties as part of the federal economic rescue law. 

Nebraska saw a small uptick in new unemployment applications last week after several weeks of declining numbers from the all-time high caused by the coronavirus. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that 4,918 people filed for jobless benefits during the week that ended June 13. That’s up from the 4,697 that filed the prior week. The highest number of weekly claims filed during coronavirus pandemic was 26,539 during during the week that ended April 4. The numbers have trended downward ever since.

The number of South Dakotans applying for unemployment benefits continues to rise. The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation said Thursday that during the week of June 7-13 there were 1,006 initial weekly unemployment. That’s an increase from 880 initial weekly claims made the week prior.

Iowa Workforce Development reports just over 9,500 workers filed new unemployment claims last week, including people who work in Iowa but live out-of-state. That’s about the same as the previous week.

Most claims came from the manufacturing industry and self-employed workers.

The total number of Iowans continuing to receive unemployment benefits declined to about 155,000. That’s down from a peak of nearly 190,000 in early May.

A new survey of bankers in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states suggests the economy remains weak in those areas as the coronavirus outbreak continues to affect the region. The overall economic index for the region more than doubled to 37.9 in June from May’s 12.5, but it remained at a weak level. Survey organizers say any score below 50 suggests a shrinking economy, while a score above 50 suggests a growing economy. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss said crop prices remain low, and more than one-third of the bankers’ survey expect that to be a significant challenge over the next year.  

Credit Associated Press

Nebraska football coach Scott Frost and men’s basketball coach Fred Hoiberg will donate part of their salaries to the athletic department’s general operating fund to help offset revenue shortfalls because of the coronavirus pandemic. The amount will be determined when the 2021 budget is closer to being finalized. Frost’s salary is $5 million. Hoiberg earns $3 million. Frost says his deep ties to the school helped inspire him to give back some of his pay. Hoiberg said he wants to give back to make sure athletes have everything they need.

Wildlife officials in eastern Iowa are warning people to stay away from cornfields near Eldridge, where a roaming black bear has been drawing crowds of sightseers. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources say those who ignore the warning could end up being ticketed. The bear — a rare sight in Iowa — showed up in recent days and has been spotted munching on corn and taking frequent naps. Wildlife officials say sightseers pose a safety threat to the bear, because they're interfering with officials' efforts to guide it back north and that could mean they would have to euthanize the animal.