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News and resources regarding COVID-19

News 9.30.20: C-19 Patient Increases, Halloween Guidelines and "Trumped" Up Monona County Town

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SPM NEWS 9.30.20 - 432PM

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Iowa in the past day topped 1,000 with 18 more deaths.

The state also reported that an increase in people being treated at hospitals for the virus has continued, with the 390 people now hospitalized, including 63 at Sioux City’s two hospitals.  That’s an increase of eight in one day.  There has been one more death in Woodbury County for 68 in all with 41 new cases recorded today.  Woodbury County’s 14-day positivity rate is at 15%.  Earlier today, it did dip below the 15% threshold set up by the state as one of the criteria for a school district to apply for on-line learning only. 

There are 15 new cases in Dakota County.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Nebraska remains elevated as the state continues to report hundreds of new cases each day.

However, the number of hospitalizations is still below the peak set in the spring.

The state’s online virus tracker showed 215 people were hospitalized today with 466 new cases and six new deaths.  Last week, the state almost tied the hospitalization high of 232 set back on May 27th.

South Dakota reported a decrease in the number of active cases to just over 3,600 as the state marked the end of its deadliest month during the pandemic.

Health officials have recorded 56 death from COVID-19 during September, as well as new highs in cases.  

Over the past two weeks, the state reported the nation’s second-highest number of new cases per capita.

The IDPH released new guidelines about Halloween during the C-19 pandemic. The IDPH says many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses. A spokesperson from the City of Sioux City says the police department will share recommendations that mirror what the state released today. 

You can find the complete list of guidelines here.

Nebraska officials are defending the state’s $27 million contract with a Utah company to provide coronavirus testing services through Test Nebraska. In early April, state labs were running short on testing supplies at the same time all states were trying to significantly increase testing for the virus. Doug Carlson, with the state’s Department of Administrative Services, told Nebraska lawmakers this week the state was having trouble finding testing supplies until Nomi Health offered to step in. So the state agreed to a no-bid contract to set up Test Nebraska and provide up to 540,000 tests over the next six months. Some state lawmakers have questioned the contract.

Nebraska will officially offer expanded Medicaid coverage to low-income people after years of political battles in the Legislature, a statewide ballot campaign that led voters to approve it and a nearly two-year rollout that left some residents in health care limbo. The state will provide coverage to more than 10,000 residents who have signed up so far, a number roughly in line with state projections. State officials expect the number enrolled will to rise to about 90,000 within a few years. Nebraska was among several conservative states where state lawmakers and governors declined to expand Medicaid, only to see the issue go to voters.

Nebraska will receive more than $46 million in federal money to help pay for repairs to roads and bridges that were needed after widespread flooding struck the state in the spring of 2019. The federal money is part of $574 million in emergency aid announced Tuesday that the U.S. Transportation Department is distributing to 39 states and Puerto Rico. Nebraska transportation officials have said the flooding in March 2019 forced the closure of 3,300 miles of highway in the state and damaged 27 bridges.

A Monona County town has apologized after political flags showing support for President Donald Trump were flown from city property last night. 

A photo circulating around social media shows Trump flags mounted on light poles along the City of Ute’s main street. Its caption shows support for the president.  

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Credit City of Ute, IA
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The city wrote on social media that the flags have been removed and were not sanctioned by the city. 

The state auditor’s office said in a statement that Iowa code prohibits campaign materials from being placed on public property. It called the action “a violation of civic trust all public employees hold, most of them dearly, to serve all Iowans equally.”