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News and resources regarding COVID-19

News 10.30.20: C-19 Trends, Sen. Ernst in Siouxland, Biden in IA, Halloween Drunk Driving and More

OCTOBER 30, 2020

Ninety-nine people have died in Woodbury County due to complications of COVID-19 after the addition of the death of an elderly man.  There were another 93 cases for a total of almost 7,500 since the start of the pandemic, with two-thirds recovered.  

Credit Siouxland District Health Department

Siouxland District Health released a weekly trend report for the week ending on October 25th it showed a fluctuating positivity rate for testing and a lower number of new cases.  However, officials say consistent efforts need to be made to reduce the spread of the disease.   

Credit Siouxland District Health Department
Credit Siouxland District Health Department

Sioux City’s two hospitals are treating a total of 71 patients who have tested positive for the disease.  The state of Iowa again set a new record for hospitalizations with a level of 606 patients.  In a 24-hour period more than 2,600 tested positive for the virus with 14 deaths recorded for 1,705 in all.

A third of Iowa’s 99 counties have a 14-day positivity rate for testing above 15%.  Anything above that level shows wide levels of community spread.  O’Brien in northwest Iowa tops the list with almost 22%.  Woodbury County’s rate was continued to go up this week with a rate of 17%.  Other Siouxland counties above the 15% threshold are Osceola, Sioux, Plymouth, Lyon and now Dickinson.

The Harrison County board of supervisors approved a countywide mask mandate. But the requirement won’t be in place quite yet.

Harrison County Public Health Administrator Brad Brake says the county is still figuring out the next steps. He says the document will be published in local newspapers next week and will likely take effect several days after.

"For our schools that don’t currently have a requirement in place, it gives me time to talk through what that looks like for those schools." 

Two school districts don’t require masks on their own, but the countywide requirement forces them to.

The requirement applies to schools and other indoor public settings, like pharmacies, grocery and hardware stores.

Meanwhile, Nebraska recorded 11 more deaths and 1,605 new cases as of Thursday night for a total of 68,105 and 637 deaths.

South Dakota heath officials added a dozen more deaths on Friday morning for 415 in all, and almost 1,400 new cases (1,389) for a grand total of 42,896 since the start of the pandemic.

Credit @SenJoniErnst

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst is campaigning in northwest Iowa. She met with supports at the GOP headquarters in Sioux City this morning before traveling to Le Mars, Sioux Center and Alta in Buena Vista County early this afternoon.  Joining Ernst was Governor Kim Reynolds and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.  Cruz won the Iowa Caucuses back in 2016. 

Ernst’s challenger, Democrat Theresa Greenfield continued on the campaign trail yesterday after suspending her RV tour due to a staffer who tested positive for COVID-19.

Greenfield was forced to cancel scheduled events in Sioux City on Wednesday.

A drive-in campaign rally for Presidential Candidate Joe Biden was schedule for today at noon at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.  Iowa is a key battleground state and a new poll shows a slight lead for President Donald Trump.

KCCI Television in Des Moines reports sources say the president will make another stop in Iowa before the election, holding a rally in Dubuque on Sunday.

When Joe Biden was last in Iowa, his presidential campaign was on the verge of collapse and he was soundly trounced in the caucuses. Biden returns today as the Democratic nominee, believing he’s just days away from becoming president-elect.

Iowa is among the clutch of Republican-leaning states that Biden is trying to bring back into the Democratic column. Biden also will swing through Wisconsin on Friday while his running mate, Kamala Harris, courts voters in Texas.

President Donald Trump is playing defense in Michigan and Wisconsin. Trump and Biden will both be in Minnesota, a longtime Democratic state that the Republican president is trying to flip.

Iowa is setting a record for early voting.  Iowa’s Secretary of State says more than 885,000 Iowans have already voted.  That’s about 60 percent of turnout for the last presidential election. About 100,000 absentee ballots haven’t been turned back in yet.

Woodbury County Auditor and Election Commissioner Pat Gill says there have been almost 26,000 requests for absentee ballot with 23,520 returned, which is a record for absentee ballots for Woodbury County.  This beats the previous high set in 2012 by more than 2,000 ballots.

Gov. Kristi Noem has gotten more campaign donations in the last two weeks than she received in the first five months of the year. And, the governor isn’t up for reelection for two more years. Noem’s time in the national political spotlight likely has helped her amass more than $1 million in contributions in the last six months, including $224,000 in the last 10 days, according to filings with the South Dakota Secretary of State. Noem received donations between $100 and $4,000 from individuals residing in at least 42 states.

Export markets helped pork producers sell some animals last spring when usual processing paths were disrupted. Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes says a key aspect of overseas markets is that they like parts of the pig that most Americans don’t have a taste for including feet and offal.  

“We need those export markets to eat the pieces that we’re not as interested in and in so doing, they reduce the break-even price of producing the loin, the rib and the belly for the American consumer. “

China, Mexico and Canada are the largest buyers of US pork. The industry and the US Department of Agriculture continue to actively nurture other overseas markets. Hayes made his comments in a webinar sponsored by the Missouri-based ag policy group Agri-Pulse.

And, the Sioux City Police Department with a warning his Halloween weekend.  They say due to the holiday falling on a Saturday and daylight saving time ending as well, this is a high potential for an increase in drunk drivers.  They want to raise awareness and remind people to now drink and drive this weekend.