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News and resources regarding COVID-19

News 9.4.20: Woodbury County C-19 Increase, Labor Day Warning, $800,000+ SD Advertisement and More

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The Iowa Department of Public Health shows an increase of almost 1,200 new positive COVID-19 tests in the state and three more deaths for a total of almost 68,000 positive cases and 1,137 deaths.

Cases in Woodbury County continue to climb.  Siouxland District Health is tracking 46 additional cases for more than 4,200 since the beginning of the pandemic and 56 deaths.

The test positivity rate according to the Iowa Department of Public Health is 11.6%

Sioux and Plymouth Counties have the third and fourth highest positivity rates in the state for new COVID-19 testing with 22 and 21%. 

Dakota County Health Department reports six additional cases for 2,025 in all and 43 deaths.

Meanwhile, South Dakota has recorded the nation’s third-highest rate per capita during the last two weeks. Health officials attribute the alarming development to summer gatherings, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and students returning to college campuses and school classrooms.

The state epidemiologist says there is typically a two-week lag between increases in cases and hospitalizations.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has announced that she will send $75 million of federal coronavirus relief funds to schools. The governor is allotting public and private schools $500 per student out of the $1.25 billion in federal funding the state received for coronavirus relief.

South Dakota elementary and high schools had already received $41 million in federal funding to respond to the pandemic.

And, Governor Noem did get some extra air time on Fox News last week during the Republican National Convention, after the state ran a $819,000 taxpayer-funded ad promoting tourism.

Purchasing the Fox News ad while millions of people tuned into the RNC was Noem’s idea, her spokesman said.

In the 30-second ad narrated by the Republican governor, she describes how the state is “open for opportunity,” alluding to how she has leveraged her decision to forego coronavirus restrictions to attract tourists and businesses to the state. 

Public health experts are warning Iowans to manage their coronavirus risk very carefully over the Labor Day weekend. There are particular concerns that young people in hotspot areas could bring the virus with them as they travel.

Coronavirus cases have been surging in Iowa as college campuses have reopened. One public health expert says residents in hotspots like Iowa City and Ames should assume they’ve been exposed.

Epidemiologist Jorge Salinas at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics says everyone faces some risk of severe disease from the virus.

“We don’t know yet what the long-term effects of covid on the heart are. But everybody, young or older adult, or a child, should avoid getting infected."

To prevent further spread, Salinas said college students in particular should avoid visiting family members, especially if they’re 50 or older or have underlying conditions.

United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue approved Gov. Reynolds request for a Secretarial disaster declaration for 18 counties following a devastating wind storm last month.  However, Siouxland counties recommended by the governor for the designation were not included in the disaster aid. 

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