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News and resources regarding COVID-19

News 7.24.20: Heat Wave, Local Mask Mandate, Disaster Proclamation Extension and Teacher Protest

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SPM NEWS 7.24.20 - 5:04PM
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A heat wave is impacting Siouxland.  A heat advisory will continue through tomorrow night for a large portion of the region, including sections of northwest Iowa and southeast South Dakota and Dixon and Dakota counties in northeast Nebraska.  The heat index will reach into the triple digits.

The National Weather Service says drink plenty of fluids, stay in air-conditioning if possible, keep out of the sun and take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. 

Gov. Kim Reynolds has extended the state’s public health emergency declaration for another thirty days. It now expires on August 23.

Despite the recent statewide increase in COVID-19 cases, Reynolds did not add any additional provisions. But she did allow several to expire. 

Starting Sunday, Iowans will once again be allowed to return cans and bottles to retailers to redeem their deposits.

The declaration will continue to require businesses like restaurants, bars, fitness centers, casinos and spas ensure six feet of social distancing between customers. And it encourages vulnerable Iowans to limit activities outside the home.

The city of Sioux City issued a statement on Friday about wearing masks and face coverings.  City leaders say they have received many questions from concerned citizens about the issue.  This week, the Iowa Attorney General’s Office issued a letter stating local regulations must be consistent with the state’s policy.  Governor Reynolds has not ordered a statewide requirement. 

However, the city of Sioux City is requiring masks and face coverings for all city buildings starting next Wednesday.  The move also applies for city staff who share common areas and can’t social distance.   

The City says it recognizes the importance of wearing masks and the public is strongly encouraged to wear masks. 

Meanwhile, the number of positive cases of the novel coronavirus in Iowa has reached 41,000 according to the latest information from the state coronavirus website.  There have been 820 deaths.  That is an increase of 5 people over a 24-hour period.  There were more then 450 new positive cases with 14 more in Woodbury County according to Siouxland District Health for a total of 3,517 and 47 deaths.

State health officials in Iowa have confirmed that they have cleared a backlog in COVID-19 case results caused by a glitch in its disease surveillance system last weekend.

The backlog was caused by a pause in the state’s electronic system that was quickly identified and fixed.

The disruption did not affect individuals from getting their COVID-19 test results from their provider.

The state requires all healthcare providers to report COVID-19 test results through the state’s electronic system or through fax.

State officials did not say how many cases were affected.

Hundreds of Iowa educators circled the state capitol in their cars today to protest Governor Kim Reynolds’ proclamation on returning to in-person learning.

The order requires schools to provide at least half of students’ class time face-to-face when they reopen next month. Some districts had planned on using mostly remote learning to allow physical distancing.

Educators in the procession called on Reynolds to reverse her proclamation and allow schools to follow their own plans.

Sheila Brummer returns to her radio roots as a Reporter/Special Projects Producer for Siouxland Public Media KWIT-KOJI.