News 9.29.20: C-19 Update, More on New IA Guidelines, Branstad on China, Grassley on Trade and More
The number of Iowans hospitalized with COVID-19 increased overnight as the state added 667 new positive cases and seven additional deaths, including three more in Woodbury County reported on Tuesday night, for a total of 67 people.
More than 87,500 Iowans have tested positive for the disease, with 77% recovered.
Thirteen counties are above a 14-day positivity rate of 15%. Lyon is top in the state with almost 29% with Sioux falling to second with almost 28%. Woodbury County is down to 15%.
Any county with the 15% rate or high does meet the threshold to apply for virtual learning only with the state.
Two test Iowa clinics are opening up in Orange City and Sioux City to expand testing in Sioux County.
Information from the IDPH: Starting today (Tuesday), testing will be available at the Orange City Area Health System Occupational Health and Physical Therapy Clinic, located at 1000 Lincoln Circle SE. Testing will be conducted Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. A second Test Iowa clinic will open at Sioux Center Health, 1101 9th Street SE. Testing hours will be Monday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
(Associated Press coverage of IA Gov. Kim Reynolds News Conference)
Gov. Kim Reynolds has announced a policy change to make it easier for students, teachers and business workers exposed to an infected person to avoid a two-week quarantine, despite a surge in cases throughout the state.
Under new state guidance, children in daycares and schools and workers do not have to quarantine as long as they and the infected person with whom they were in contact were consistently and correctly wearing face coverings.
Only the infected person must go into isolation, while the close contacts should monitor their health. The change breaks with the CDC, which recommends a 14-day quarantine for anyone who is in close contact with someone who has tested positive regardless of mask use.
The number of positive cases at Morningside College has fallen a little bit. Last week, the COVID-19 Dashboard for the college showed 48 students and staff impacted for the week of September 1th through the 20th. Last week, there were 31 testing positive. Around 200 are in quarantine on and off campus. That is down about 10% from the week earlier.
The departing U.S. ambassador in Beijing is defending a tough approach to China that has riled relations between the world’s two largest economies. Terry Branstad says the Trump administration has made progress on trade and that he hopes it will extend to other areas including China's treatment of diplomats and journalists. Branstad downplays the strained relationship, noting it has weathered ups and downs in the past. He concedes, though, that there is concern that pressure on China could lead to a downward spiral of growing restrictions. The longtime Iowa governor is returning to Iowa this weekend after three years and three months as ambassador. No successor has been named.
The United States and United Kingdom are working toward a bilateral trade agreement now that the U-K is separating from the European Union. The fourth round of cross-Atlantic negotiations wrapped up this month, with more coming in October.
Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley says the trading relationship with the U-K is critical to the United States.
“We want to continue and even expand trade with England way beyond what we could do when they were a member of the European Union.”
Grassley also says the U-K agreement could help set the parameters for a future deal with the European Union. After the UK talks, his top trade priorities are Kenya and Japan.