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News 9.2.20: IA Gov. Addresses C-19 Surge, Northwestern College Cases, Mask Petition and More

Iowa PBS

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds acknowledged the increase of COVID-19 cases in the state during a news conference today.

The CDC reported last week, Iowa saw the highest rate of new cases in the nation and 5th highest number of positivity rates.

Reynolds says the biggest increase is with younger adults in the college towns of Iowa City, Ames and even Iowa Falls.

The governor didn’t call for further action as recommended by the CDC for impacted areas, including a mask mandate. 

Recently, she did close bars in six counties with higher surge of cases and will wait to see if the decision works before considering additional steps to slow the virus.

The governor did announced a relief grant of up to $10,000 for the bars and restaurants impacted by the forced closures.

The President of Northwestern College in Orange City, Greg Christy, also spoke about COVID-19 at his campus.  Testing was done with athletes, coaches and R.A.'s in the middle of August, ten days before classes started.  Seven tested positive.

Northwestern currently has two positive cases and about 20 students in quarantine.  The school is utilizing an app to keep students and staff informed.  

Credit Iowa PBS

Today, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported 400 more Iowans tested positive for COVID-19 and four more have died for a total of 1,125 deaths.

Health officials in Dakota County on Wednesday released one more person died due to complications of COVID-19 for a total of 43 since the beginning of the pandemic.  The last person to die in the county was recorded at the end of July.  There have been 56 deaths in Woodbury County with the latest added yesterday.  There is also an increase of 11 positive cases in Woodbury County and 15 in Dakota County.

When it comes to positivity rates, Sioux County now is the highest in northwest Iowa at 22.8% recorded on Wednesday morning.  It’s number two, behind Johnson County, the home of Iowa City.  Plymouth County is fourth with 22%.  Anything over the threshold of 15% allows a school district to apply for on-line learning only.

A local advocate has launched an on-line petition calling for mandating face coverings and masks in the state of Iowa.

“We’re in a different world and just kind of go day by day and do what you can do to live your life and keep yourself safe and maintain whatever social contact you can.”

That’s Cindy Waitt, of Sioux City, who is known for her work with the Kind World Foundation, the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention and other charities.

Waitt says people need to follow the advice of scientist and medical professionals.

“I think all of the people in Siouxland who are wearing masks and doing the right thing and I encourage other people to wear masks as well.”

Cindy Waitt’s petition on change.org has gathered almost 3,000 signatures. Listen for more with Waitt coming up next on The Exchange with host Mary Hartnett.

Woodbury County auditor Pat Gill has scheduled a news conference for one this afternoon a day after the board of supervisors voted not to appeal a judge’s ruling over absentee ballot request forms.

The forms were prefilled with voter ID numbers.  President Trump’s campaign and the GOP filed a lawsuit says the move violated a state order that the forms be left blank.  A judge in Woodbury County District Court agreed.

Marty Pottebaum, the lone Democrat on the board, was the supervisor who voted to appeal the judge’s ruling from late last week.

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