News 8.21.20: C-19 Latest, Back-to-School Legal Fight, Pride Canceled and Storm Help
The Iowa Department of public health reports four more deaths due to complications of COVID-19 and more than 800 new cases in 24-hours.
More than 54,000 Iowans have tested positive. There have been 1,017 deaths.
Siouxland District health reported 3,884 positive cases of COVID-19 in Woodbury County as of 9 this morning. That is an increase of 16 people in one day. The number of deaths remains at 54. The two week positivity rate is almost 8%. That is half way to the threshold for school district to move in to a virtual format. Sioux City Community Schools will stay the year with a hybrid model and 30% of students learning on-line.
A hearing is set for September 3rd in a lawsuit seeking to block Governor Reynolds’ order that school return to the classroom. The Iowa State Education Association and the Iowa City Community School District are requesting a temporary injunction to block enforcement of the governor’s mandate. If granted, that would mean school districts would have their own authority to decide whether to move to 100% remote learning and not face retaliation from the state if they do. Reynolds has said that school districts must provide at least 50% in-person instruction for core classes or face consequences.
Meanwhile, O’Brien and Plymouth counties each saw one more death. There are seven fatalities in O’Brien and 15 in Plymouth, that is seeing a surge in new positive cases.
Nebraska reports more than 31,300 positive cases and 373 deaths with one new confirmed case in Dakota County for 1,935 in all and 42 deaths.
South Dakota sees a bigger increase of new cases with 125 and a total of almost 10,700 and 157 deaths. Health officials there say about two dozen people who attended the Sturgis Motorcycle rally this month have come down with the disease.
The rally, which ended Sunday, brought hundreds of thousands of people from far and wide to the Black Hills. Before it kicked off, some worried about a potential outbreak following the gathering.
Organizers of Sioux City Pride have canceled the event until next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The annual LGBTQ celebration is usually held in June but was rescheduled for September.
The President of Sioux City Pride, Don Dew says “it has become apparent it is still not safe to hold large public events in our community. It would be irresponsible to hold the festival.”
According to Dew, the 2021 Sioux City Pride Festival plans include a parade as well as a festival both set to be held in downtown Sioux City.
Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped significantly in July but remained far higher than the rate before the pandemic led to an economic slowdown. Iowa Workforce Development reported Friday a 6.6% unemployment rate, down from 8.4% in June. The rate was more than twice as high as July 2019, when the state recorded a 2.7% rate. The number of Iowa residents without jobs dropped from 137,700 in June to 107,300 in July.
President Donald Trump has approved Federal Emergency Management Agency funding for eastern Iowa's Linn County — the hardest-hit by last week's rare hurricane-strength wind storm. The FEMA individual assistance program helps homeowners, renters, and businesses affected by natural disasters. It includes assistance with housing, personal property replacement, medical expenses, and legal services. The approval is sure to be welcomed by the county's largest city, Cedar Rapids, which saw massive damage from the Aug. 10 storm that saw winds of up to 130 mph at times. Nearly 12,000 Alliant Energy customers remained without power Friday morning, some 11 days after the storm.