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News and resources regarding COVID-19

News 8.24.20: Plymouth County School Delays, Riverfront Project Update, MSIDE Homecoming and More

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The rate of positive cases of COVID-19 continues to climb in Plymouth County.  The state of Iowa coronavirus website shows a 14-day positive test result of 20.8%. 

Anything exceeding 15% allows a school district to apply for virtual learning.

Due to the increase, at least three schools in Plymouth County have pushed back their school start dates.

The Floyd Valley Health Department reports Marcus, Meriden, Cleghorn, Remsen-Union and Remsen St. Mary’s were to start Monday, but will now start on Thursday.

The health manager says they can confirm an outbreak of cases tried to a specific golf tournament in Akron.  Remsen is also seeing an increase in cases tied to multiple small clusters of events and not one specific event. They are also seeing community spread throughout Plymouth County.

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts says it’s important to get kids back to class.  He says being in school helps with mental health, socialization and good nutrition.

Nebraska’s education commissioner is urging public schools to remain flexible for students and teachers as they resume classes in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The agency will continue to help schools as needed while maintaining its largely hands-off approach that lets individual schools decide how to proceed.

In Nebraska, state education officials have released non-binding public health guidelines for schools. But they haven’t imposed statewide requirements to specify whether schools should mandate masks or mandate in-person attendance.

Officials are expressing concern after throngs of University of Iowa students without masks were seen crowded shoulder-to-shoulder outside and within several Iowa City bars only hours before university classes were to start Monday. There were reports police are not enforcing a mask mandate issued by the mayor and several bars were all over capacity.  News of the unruly scenes came as the Iowa Department of Public Health reported 471 new known coronavirus cases and five new deaths in the past 24 hours as of Monday morning.

Public health officials say a young child in Iowa died due to complications from coronavirus in June, the state's first death of a minor during the pandemic.  The department says it needed to make efforts to protect the child's identity and notify the family before releasing the information to the public.

The state of Iowa’s coronavirus website showed five more deaths due to complications of COVID-19 and almost 500 new cases in a 24-hour period. There are 1,039 deaths so far with a majority residents of long-term care facilities.  There are 34 outbreaks at facilities across the state.

There are 75 new positive cases in Woodbury County since Friday for a total of 3,959.  The number of deaths remains at 54. But, the 14-day positive test result average for Woodbury County is now 9.5% according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.  That is up two points from last week.

Health officials in Dakota County report 9 new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 1,944 positive cases and 42 deaths.

In Nebraska, there are almost 32,900 positive case and 378 deaths.  That is 5 more deaths and almost 400 positive cases reported since Friday.

There are almost 150 new case in South Dakota with 11,425 in all and 161 deaths.

The hundreds of thousands of bikers who attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally have departed western South Dakota. But public health departments in multiple states are trying to measure how much and how quickly the coronavirus spread in the bars, tattoo shops and gatherings before people traveled home to nearly every state in the country. The city of Sturgis is conducting mass testing for its roughly 7,000 residents. But health departments in at least six states are also trying to track outbreaks from the 10-day rally which ended on Aug. 16. They face the task of tracking an invisible virus that spread among rallygoers who then traveled to over half of the counties in the United States.

Iowa GOP delegation to the Republican National Convention formally cast 40 votes for the nomination of President Trump in Charlotte North Carolina.

Each state was given three minutes to make a speech on the convention floor in Charlotte.  

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds will speak remotely on Thursday.  Two of the keynote speakers include Iowa U.S. Senator Joni Ernst and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem.

This afternoon, the Sioux City Council is expected to vote on plan to sell renewable natural gas that is the byproduct of the wastewater treatment plant.

The Sioux City Journal reports they would work with a company out of Jacksonville, Florida called The Energy Authority.

A few years ago, the council moved ahead with a more than nine-million dollars project to capture, clean and compress biogas.

If approved the biogas could be sold starting next month.

The Chris Larson Park Riverfront Development Project received a boost from the state of Iowa.

The Enhance Iowa Board awarded a 400,000 Community Action and Tourist grant to the Sioux City Parks and Recreation Department or the project. However, to get the grant the project needs to receive an addition $16,000 in donations. 

Phase 1 of the project started in June and will include a new public park on the former site of the Argosy Casino.  There will also be park shelters, two basketball courts, a dog park and more. 

And, on Thursday the Parks and Rec. Department and Sioux City Pickleball Association unveil new pickleball courts near the Riverside Aquatic Center.

Homecoming activities have changed for Morningside College this fall.

The currently scheduled football game against Briar Cliff University will still take place on Saturday, October 10th at Elwood Olsen Stadium.  Fans will be able to attend with guidelines and requirements, according to KMEG/FOX 44 Television.

However, all over homecoming events will be canceled, that includes all class reunions and the Taste of Morningside.

(News includes content from the Associated Press.)

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