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News and resources regarding COVID-19

News 9.22.20: More C-19 Deaths, Presidential Poll, Supreme Court Latest, Morningside Update and More

Siouxland District Health Department

SPM NEWS 9.22.20 - 4:32PM

Two more people have died of COVID-19 in Woodbury County for a total of 63. 

Statewide, another 19 Iowans lost their lives due to the virus, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

There were 30 more cases in Woodbury County, and more than 500 in the whole state in a 24-hour period that ended at 10 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, Dakota County reports five new cases. There have been 43 deaths in Dakota County.

Woodbury County stands at a positivity rate of 15%.  Six of the top ten counties are in northwest Iowa, with Sioux at 30%.  Plus, Osceola, Lyon, Plymouth, Sac and Ida.  Woodbury County rounded out the top 10.

The 15% threshold is one criteria for a school district to apply for on-line learning only.

A Sioux City college is moving to a hybrid model tomorrow as the number of coronavirus cases among students continues to increase.

Morningside College saw an increase of the novel coronavirus in the past week.  They are logging 46 new cases with students and two with staff.  Two-hundred and twelve are in isolation, or quarantine, on-and-off campus.  That’s an increase of more than 50% from last week.  The college provides an update to its COVID-19 Dashboard every Tuesday.

Morningside’s president said in an email to students that all face-to-face classes will be taught with only half of the seats in a classroom occupied at a time.  Morningside says it will stay in hybrid learning until further notice.  The college has nearly 12-hundred undergraduate students. Earlier this month, Morningside started hosting a Test Iowa site.

Western Iowa Tech Community College’s website shows 11 new confirmed cases with students and staff from September 14th through the 20th.

South Dakota health officials have reported 320 new cases of the coronavirus. The new figures on Tuesday come as the state has experienced an uptick in case in recent weeks. State lawmakers are readying plans to address the crisis with federal relief money. As the number of hospitalizations increases, representatives from the state’s health care providers told lawmakers the pandemic has stressed their operations, revenues and staff. State legislators are preparing for a special legislative session. Republican Gov. Kristi Noem called the session so the Legislature can provide input on using the $1.25 billion in federal funds the state received to address the pandemic and its economic impact.

The two presidential candidates are in a virtual tie as we head into the November election.

The newest Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows President Donald Trump and Joe Biden with 47% support each amoung likely voters.

The candidates have ramped up campaign strategies in the past week. President Trump won Iowa in 2016. 

Another poll released by the same over the weekend showed Theresa Greenfield leading Sen. Joni Ernst by three percentage points.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says if President Donald Trump nominates a new Supreme Court justice, the Senate should act on the nomination.

That’s a change from previous statements that he would choose not to take up a nominee in an election year.  

Grassley says if someone is brought forward to fill the open seat, it is his responsibility as a member of the Judiciary Committee and the Senate to decide whether they belong on the court. He says he’ll be ready to vote even if it comes after the election.

“Whether the vote comes up in October, November, December you vote on the merits of the candidate, and somebody else is going to decide when it comes up.”

In 2016 Grassley said there should be no vote on a Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year. As chair of the Judiciary Committee at the time he blocked hearings on President Barack Obama’s nominee.

The difference now, Grassley says, is that the same party controls both the Senate and the White House and he’s no longer the committee chair.

Republican Iowa US Senator Joni Ernst today spoke out in favor of moving forward with hearings for a new Supreme court justice.  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died last Friday.  President Trump says he will nominate a successor by Saturday.  

At a Senate Republican news conference today, Ernst said she really admired what a great example Bader Ginsburg set for generations of women, but wants to move on with senate hearings.  

“We do expect a nomination coming from the president very soon.  And as a fairly new member of the judiciary committee, I do look forward to vetting whoever that nominee may be.”

Iowa’s senior senator, Republican Chuck Grassley, heads the Judiciary Committee.  After some concerns about the time factor, Grassley today said he is in favor of going ahead with the hearings.

Supporters lobbying to reinstate four recently-eliminated University of Iowa sports programs say they have obtained $1.65 million and counting in pledges if the school decides to keep them going. Save Iowa Sports, a group that includes hundreds of athletes, alumni and donors, said in a letter to Iowa President Bruce Harreld that the pledges have come together in a few days and are “just the beginning” of its fundraising campaign. The university last month moved to abruptly eliminate men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis and men’s gymnastics. Athletic director Gary Barta said the cuts were “100% driven by” the coronavirus pandemic, which caused the postponement of football for safety reasons and tens of millions in lost revenue.