News 9.28.20: C-19 Hospitalizations Up, New Quarantine Guidelines, Senate Debate, Crops and More
The number of Iowans in the hospital with COVID-19 reached a four-month high on Monday as the Department of Public Health reported two more have died of the disease and more than 600 tested positive.
There are more than 350 hospitalized; including 57 in Woodbury County, according to Siouxland District Health. That is an overall increase of five patients in one day.
There are 54 new positive cases in Woodbury County. Dakota County reports 48 new cases.
Fourteen counties in the state do have an average positivity rate of more than 15%; they include seven counties in northwest Iowa. Sioux County is still number one at 29.7%, that is a little bit lower. Other counties above the threshold in our area are Lyon, Osceola, Plymouth, Sac, Palo Alto, Woodbury and O’Brien. Woodbury County’s rate is 15.6%.
Today, the Iowa Department of Public Health announced changes in quarantine guidelines.
They include, close contacts will no longer need to quarantine for 14 days if a face covering was worn during exposure. People living in the same household will still need to quarantine.
(You can find the full news release below.)
Nebraska reported 901 new coronavirus cases and two new deaths linked to COVID-19 over the weekend. The state’s online virus tracker today showed more than 44,000 in Nebraska tested positive since the outbreak started. Plus, 470 deaths.
The number of daily new coronavirus cases has topped 500 for the first time in South Dakota. The state also record-levels of active cases and hospitalizations. The wave of infections has caused concerns about hospitals’ ability to handle COVID-19 patients along with patients needing medical care for other issues.
However, South Dakota’s top health official says hospitals have plenty of capacity to care for COVID-19 patients, even as the state has become one of the nation’s coronavirus hotspots. Health officials reported Monday that the number of active infections in the state is more than 3,800, including more than 200 who are being treated in hospitals. The state secretary of health Kim Malsam-Rysdon says 33 hospitals in the state are caring for coronavirus patients and that over 1,000 hospital beds remain available. According to the COVID Tracking Project, the state's seven-day positivity average for coronavirus testing is over 25%.
A judge is refusing to block a Republican-backed Iowa law that makes it harder for county officials to process absentee ballot applications and more likely that incomplete requests won't be fulfilled.
In an opinion released Monday, Judge Lars Anderson rejects arguments by a Latino civil rights organization and a Democratic Party group that the law is an undue burden on the fundamental right to vote.
The ruling is another victory for Republicans who want to limit absentee voting, which begins next week in Iowa. Republicans have already invalidated tens of thousands of absentee ballot applications in three counties.
Tonight, the two candidates for U.S. Senate faceoff in a televised debate on Iowa PBS. Incumbent Republican Joni Ernst is being challenged by Des Moines businesswoman Theresa Greenfield. The debate starts at seven. Political insiders say the race between Ernst and Greenfield is one of five Senate toss-ups this year. A cent poll by the Des Moines Register/Mediacom shows Greenfield with a 3% edge in support.
The Woodbury County Democratic Party is holding a gathering tonight to give people a chance to meet the candidates.
It takes place at The Marquee from 5 to 9 p.m.
Scheduled to attend are candidates running for Woodbury County Supervisor, auditor-recorder and Iowa House of Representatives.
The harvest showed rapid progress last week as Iowa farmers made the most of nearly 6 and a half days suitable for fieldwork. Today’s report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows the corn harvest reached 12% statewide, almost 3 weeks ahead of last year. This is the highest percent of corn harvested by September 27 since 2012 when 48% of the crop had been harvested.
The soybean harvest is 30% complete. This is also the largest proportion of soybeans harvested since 2012.
In addition to the harvest, Iowa farmers are also busy planting cover crops, applying fertilizer and manure, and fall tillage.