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News and resources regarding COVID-19

News 8.31.20: C-19 "Hotspot", SUX Air Service Update, Kayne on the Ballot and More

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Iowa Department of Public Health
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A new report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force has found Iowa has the highest rate of new COVID-19 cases in the country.

The report released yesterday puts the state in the red zone for both cases and test positivity, which is more than 10 percent. It says community transmission continues to be high across the entire state.

The task force recommends that state leaders close bars and gyms in many counties as well as limit indoor capacity at restaurants to 50 percent or even less. It also recommends a statewide mask mandate to limit the transmission.

Last week Gov. Kim Reynold closed bars in six counties in response to the growing number of cases. She has declined to issue a statewide mask mandate saying instead at a press conference last Thursday that she now strongly encourages masks.

Iowa continues to record a high number of new positive coronavirus cases as the state continues to struggle with spreading virus in several counties, including those with university campuses. Data from the Iowa Department of Public Health showed 611 new positive cases and two additional deaths on Monday, raising the total to 1,112 deaths.

With many K-12 schools back in class, some districts also are struggling with high levels of county virus activity. Twelve counties have a positivity rate of 15% or higher. That’s the threshold Gov. Kim Reynolds has set for schools to request to go to online teaching.

Plymouth County has the highest rate in the state at almost 24%, Sioux County is third with more than 21%.  Johnson County is second.

The state coronavirus website shows 4,140 positive cases in Woodbury County.  That is an increase of 76 cases since Friday afternoon.  The number of deaths is now 56.

Dakota County reports 25 new cases for 1,984 in all.  There are still 42 deaths.

Iowa’s coronavirus cases are spreading so quickly, the state now has among the worst outbreaks in the world, by some metrics.

As of yesterday , Iowa had more new coronavirus cases per capita than any other state in the country, according to analysis by the New York Times. 

New cases are spreading fastest in the university towns of Ames and Iowa City. 

Daniel Diekema is the head of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

“Well I'm extremely concerned. I think we should all be. I think we're now in the unenviable position of being one of the global hotspots for COVID-19 spread.”

So far, Governor Kim Reynolds hasn’t issued a state-wide mask mandate and has maintained that local governments are not legally authorized to do so.

Today, officials from Iowa State University provided an update on the first scheduled game of the season.

In a letter sent to fans, Athletic Director Jamie Pollard says around 25,000 fans will be allowed to attend the game against Louisiana in person on September 12th.

Season ticket holder will have first priority and face coverings must be worn at all times.

City leaders say there will be no gap in air service from the Sioux Gateway Airport after American airlines filed with U.S. Department of Transportation to terminate unsubsidized air services. 

According to a news release, the move was expected by both the city and airport board. 

Recently, American Airlines announced plans to pull out of the market in October because of the financial pinch caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The airline then reversed course on the route from Sioux City to Chicago.

The news release says the filing by American gives the DOT 90 days to take bids to find another carrier for the market under the essential air service program. The program was set up by the Federal Government to provide air service to smaller cities in the U.S. that were served by a commercial carrier prior to deregulation. 

Musician Kanye West will be on the Iowa ballot as a presidential candidate.

West’s campaign submitted petitions to get on the ballot in mid-August, and one objection questioned some of the signatures and addresses. 

The other alleged West illegally misrepresented himself by running as a candidate not affiliated with a political party. West is a registered Republican in Wyoming.

The panel of state officials that dismissed these objections is made up of one Republican and two Democrats. They agreed West didn’t violate the law.

West has made it onto the ballot in just a handful of states, with Republican operatives throughout the country reportedly helping his efforts.

The Nebraska Supreme Court will decide whether to allow voters to decide whether to legalize medical marijuana in November. The sheriff of Lancaster County filed a challenge to allowing the issue to be on the ballot in November.  Organizers of the ballot measure have said they’re confident the measure will survive the legal challenge.

Nebraska is launching a new campaign to promote local agricultural companies to foreign countries, many of whom are the state’s biggest customers. The new campaign is called “Nebraska Straight from the Good Life” and will be managed by the state Department of Agriculture. Agricultural companies that are based in Nebraska or have a significant presence in the state will be allowed to participate for free. Agriculture is Nebraska’s largest industry, and many of its farm and ranch products go to Asian and European nations. Gov. Pete Ricketts says the agriculture department frequently receives requests from international and domestic purchasers looking for specific products.

A new report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force has found Iowa has the highest rate of new COVID-19 cases in the country.

 

The report released yesterday (Sunday) puts the state in the red zone for both cases and test positivity, which is more than 10 percent. It says community transmission continues to be high across the entire state.

 

The task force recommends that state leaders close bars and gyms in many counties as well as limit indoor capacity at restaurants to 50 percent or even less. It also recommends a statewide mask mandate to limit the transmission.

 

Last week Gov. Kim Reynold closed bars in six counties in response to the growing number of cases. She has declined to issue a statewide mask mandate saying instead at a press conference last Thursday that she now strongly encourages masks.