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News 10.29.20: Record C-19 Deaths in SD, IA Senate Race Update and Siouxland Homelessness

South Dakota Department of Health

A grim record set by the state of South Dakota when it comes to COVID-19.  The number of deaths recorded in one day was 19.

Previously, the most fatalities was 14, reported on October 8th and 22nd.  There were almost 1,000 new cases added in one day. 

South Dakota has the worst rate of positive tests, hospitalizations and cases per 100,000 people in the country, according to data compiled by the New York Times.

North Dakota still leads the nation in deaths.

Coronavirus spread continues at a high level in Iowa with more than 2,400 new cases identified and more than 600 people hospitalized, a new high.

Iowa Department of Public Health data shows 25 counties had a 14-day positivity rate of more than 15%, an indication that virus activity is at an extremely high level of spread across a quarter of the state’s counties.  

There are five above the threshold in northwest Iowa with O’Brien County number three and Woodbury County with 16.4%.

Daily reported new cases and deaths reached new highs this week. Johns Hopkins University reports that over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases in Iowa has increased by 33%. Eleven more deaths were reported Thursday, increasing the death toll to 1,691; including one more death in Woodbury County, a women between the ages of 61-to-81.

The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus in Nebraska jumped to nearly 500 and set another new record as cases of the virus continued to surge in the state.  There were eight more deaths and almost 1,200 (1,169) new cases.

Candidate for U.S. Senate Democrat Theresa Greenfield continued on the campaign trail after suspending her RV tour due to a staffer who tested positive for COVID-19.

A spokesperson says all tests taken by staff and Greenfield were negative.

Greenfield was forced to cancel scheduled events in Sioux City.

Her challenger, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, will be in Siouxland tomorrow.  The incumbent Republican will make RV stops at the Woodbury County GOP office near 7th and Pierce in Sioux City tomorrow at 8 a.m.  

Joining Ernst will be Governor Kim Reynolds and U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.  The group will visit Le Mars, Sioux Center and Alta in Buena Vista County.

A judge has kept in place guidance from Iowa's secretary of state that county elections commissioners can only set up absentee ballot drop boxes at or outside their offices. The judge rejected a request from a Latino civil rights organization and a group aligned with Democrats to block Secretary of State Paul Pate’s guidance and allow for drop boxes in locations such as grocery stores.

The ruling isn’t expected to have an impact because it comes so close to Election Day. Most absentee ballots have already been returned and auditors had dropped plans to add drop box locations even if Pate’s guidance was suspended.

Meanwhile, Iowa has lost 261 polling places since 2016, according to an analysis of state data by the Center for Public Integrity, Stateline and NPR.

Local election officials say the closures are largely due to COVID-19, which has made it harder to recruit poll workers and find community buildings willing to host voters.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic an annual event to help the homeless will go mostly virtual.  The Siouxland Sleep Out is scheduled for next Friday November 6th at Cone Park.  People are encouraged to register and join a live-streamed event from their backyards.  The Siouxland Sleep Out launched in 2005 helps raise awareness and money for agencies who assist the estimated 500 people in Sioux City who are homeless.  To register, check out www.siouxlandsleepout.org.

For more information on homelessness in Sioux City you can go to our Siouxland Public Media Facebook page to watch a broadcast from earlier today with Siouxland Magazine.

A baby has been surrendered to state officials under Iowa's safe haven law for the second time in as many months. The Iowa Department of Human Services says in a news release Thursday that a baby girl, born Oct. 12, was recently released to the custody of the agency, marking the 47th time the state's safe haven law has been used. The department declined to give details on where the baby was surrendered, citing privacy policies. Under the law, parents can give the state custody of babies who are 30 days or younger without concern of being prosecuted. Parents or an authorized representative can leave infants at a hospital or other health care facility.

Home football games for the University of Iowa won’t have the same buzz this season because the usual 

Credit Associated Press/Charlie Neibergall

69,000 fans won’t be there. One beloved tradition will go on uninterrupted. At the end of the first quarter at the home opener Saturday against Northwestern, players and coaches from both teams will turn to the nearby Stead Family Children’s Hospital and wave at the young patients. The tradition has been in place for every Iowa home game since 2017. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, patients will stay in their rooms to wave back.

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