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News and resources regarding COVID-19

News 8.7.20: C-19 Positivity Rates, Internet Aid, 4th District Poll and Tax Free Holiday

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Siouxland District Health Department
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An open letter today to Iowans from Governor Kim Reynolds says “now isn’t the time to let our guard down”.

She released a video statement this afternoon, reflecting on the five months since the first positive cases of COVID-19 cases in Iowa.

"COVID-19 has tested each of us, and it will continue to. But we can’t let it deter or divide us.

When emotions are high and opinions are strong, it’s important to take a step back and realize that we’re all working toward the same goal. 

And even though we may not always agree on which path to take to get there, we are united in our desire to get back to the way of life we value as Iowans."

Reynolds has faced criticism for not issuing a mask mandate.  Also, teacher groups have expressed concern over going back to class this fall.

You can listen to the full statement on the Siouxland Public Media Facebook page.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reports six more Iowans have died from complications of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, there were almost 600 new positive cases. Woodbury County is tracking 14 new cases for almost 3,700 in all.

Siouxland District Health says with new cases of the novel coronavirus daily efforts to reduce the spread are necessary. 

Medical experts say that can be achieved by wearing masks in public.  Plus, staying home if you or a household member do not feel well, social distancing and washing or disinfecting your hands often.

The local health department says current data showed 81 new cases out of almost 1,300 tests for the week that ended on August 2nd.  That’s a positivity rate of 6 percent, for the virus to be considered contained the level should be two percent or less according to Siouxland District Health.  Also, keep in mind, testing results do include individuals undergoing surgery or some medical procedures.

The state of Iowa announced a big boost for distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than $19 million in Federal coronavirus aid will go to 327 school districts and nonpublic schools to help internet service.  Public and private colleges and universities will receive about $7 million.

Governor Reynolds says the funding will play a critical role in education and help close significant gaps in broadband access for rural schools.

Each district will get funding based on the estimated number of households that lack internet access or can’t afford it.

More than 6,700 people filed unemployment claims last week in Iowa, and the number of continuing claims is nearly 105,000, a decrease of more than 5,000 from the week before.

Manufacturing had the highest number of claims with more than 1,400.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits ended July 25, which means the $600 weekly additional benefit stopped and claimants will see a decrease in their benefits. However, laid off workers in Iowa may be eligible for state extended benefits.

And, the annual Sales Tax Holiday is underway in Iowa.

All day today and tomorrow there will be no sales tax on most shows and clothing under$100.  That includes on-line shopping.  For more information from the State of Iowa click here.

Iowa lawmakers passed the sales tax holiday about two decades ago.

A new poll shows Republican Randy Feenstra with a 20-point lead over Democratic candidate J.D. Scholten in the race for Iowa’s 4th Congressional District.

Feenstra, a state senator from Hull beat King in the June primary.  King was seeking his 10th term.

Scholten, from Sioux City, came within three points of topping King in 2018.

The Monmouth University poll gives Feenstra 54% support, compared to 34% for Scholten.  Eight-percent are undecided in a congressional district that includes more Republican and no-party voters than registered Democrats.

The poll shows Scholten have a 7-point advantage in the counties he won in the last election, including Woodbury County where he is based.

More than 1,600 registered voters in the state took part in the poll from the end of July through early August.  The margin of error is around 5-percent.

Gov. Pete Ricketts has signed an updated, $9.3 billion state budget with new money for 2019 flood relief and career scholarships for the University of Nebraska and state colleges. Ricketts approved the two-year spending plan with no line-item vetoes. In a statement, he praised lawmakers for their work crafting it. Lawmakers approved an additional $83.6 million earlier this year for the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The legislative session is set to end next week, and lawmakers still have to give final approval to a package that would help lower property taxes.

Republican U.S. Sen. John Thune, of South Dakota, is at odds with President Donald Trump on whether the president's nomination acceptance speech during the Republican National Convention should be delivered from the White House.

The president recently said he was considering the possibility.

But using the Rose Garden, the Executive Mansion or even the Oval Office as the backdrop for his speech capping the convention later this month would mark an unprecedented use of federal property for partisan political purposes.

Thune, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, says anything done “on federal property would seem to be problematic.”

The Iowa DNR made an arrest in a hit and run at the Iowa Great Lakes.

Investigators say a boater took off after rear-ending another vessel on West Lake Okoboji.  The operator of the other boat ended up in the hospital with serious injuries.

DNR officers seized a damaged boat on private property yesterday.  Shortly later, 20-year-old Zachery Kruse of Spirit Lake turned himself in and admitted to operating the boat involved in the crash.

Kruse was booked into the Dickinson County Jail.  He faces a charge of failing to give aid resulting in serious injury.  The charge is an aggravated misdemeanor.

A bomb squad and military experts had to be called to a northeastern Nebraska museum after live ordnance — including a World War II grenade and two artillery shells — were found in a museum storeroom. Staff at the Elkhorn Valley Museum in Norfolk discovered the grenade, ammunition and ordnance on Wednesday, shut down the museum and called Norfolk police. Officers were unable to determine if the vintage ordnance was live and called the Nebraska State Patrol bomb squad. The bomb squad determined that some of the items were live, and called the Nebraska Air National Guard explosive ordnance disposal team to help.

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