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News and resources regarding COVID-19

News 11.2.20: Hospital Surge, Shooting Death and Investigations, Election Latest and More

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Siouxland District Health Department
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SPM NEWS 11.3.20 - 5:32PM

Siouxland District Health says Woodbury County to see a significant number of COVID-19 cases.  There are also higher hospitalizations.  There were 97 new cases recorded today.  The running total of cases Monday afternoon was 7,800 and 100 deaths. Sioux City’s hospitals are treating a total of 84 COVID-19 patents with 60 hospitalized due just to the disease.  On Friday, there were 71. 

Statement from UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s:

It’s crucial for the public to understand that the challenges we are facing are very real and urgent. The entire UnityPoint Health System is seeing an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations. We continue to work closely with our community partners to ensure we have the necessary beds, equipment, staffing and PPE to safely care for our communities, whether it is COVID-19 or other illness or injury.

The bottom line is: We need your help. We’re at a critical point in our state’s fight against COVID-19. It is going to take every one of us doing our part to get this virus under control. Please protect your family, your community, and your local health care workers by wearing a mask, washing your hands, staying home when you are sick, practicing social distancing and getting your flu shot. If we work together, we can reduce the COVID positivity numbers.

Statement from MercyOne Siouxland:

While we are experiencing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases across Iowa, MercyOne medical centers are actively working to  ensure we remain prepared to provide safe care for all patients in need, whether it is COVID-19, or other illness or injury. Like many hospitals in Iowa, our medical centers are experiencing increases in the need for coronavirus care.

MercyOne medical centers presently have the necessary resources to manage these increases. We continue to work closely with our public health partners to meet the needs of our community and have plans in place should there be a need for additional coronavirus care.

We ask all Iowans to help our health care teams in slowing the spread of the virus by wearing a mask, avoiding large gatherings, maintaining social distancing and performing frequent hand washing. If you haven’t already, everyone six months of age and older should get a flu shot to help maintain your health.

Health officials with Siouxland District Health say it is extremely important that everyone do their part to help prevent the spread by: staying home when sick or if you have had close contact with a COVID-19 case; physical distancing; wearing masks in public; and washing hands frequently.

The Iowa Department of Public Health shows 17 more have died of complications of the virus with almost 1,500 more cases recorded.  Forty-six of Iowa’s 99 counties have also a 14-day positivity rate for testing above 15%.  Woodbury County is at almost 19%.  O’Brien is number one in the state with 25.6%.

Dakota County Health officials report one more death for a total of 49 and 39 more positive cases for 2,672 in all.

South Dakota health officials reported five straight day of more than 1,000 cases of the coronavirus.  Today, there were about 500 added for 45,932 in all and 438 deaths.

The number of people being treated in medical facilities across the state doubled in October.  

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic a change in the Holiday Lighted Parade in downtown Sioux City.

Downtown Partners says instead of people standing on the streets to watch, the parade entries will line the street.

Spectators can drive the parade route to see the lighted floats and even Santa!

The event takes place the Monday before Thanksgiving, November 23rd starting at 6:30 p.m.  The floats will park along Third Street from Virginia to Nebraska with a holiday tree at 4th and Nebraska.

A violent weekend in Sioux City on Sunday, with three shooting, including one turning deadly.

Sioux City Police released the name of the murder victim in a shooting outside of the Park Place Apartments near 26th and Douglas (Near Grandview Park) last night.  Thirty-three-year-old Solomon J. Blackbird of Sioux City was pronounced dead at the hospital.  Sioux City Police say a suspect hasn’t been identified or a motive.  Anyone with information in the homicide of Blackbird is asked to contact the Sioux City Police Department or Crime Stoppers at 258-TIPS (8477).

Two other shootings took place early Sunday morning a few blocks away from Cook Park.  One near Main and Westly Parkway.  Investigators say 22-year-old Christian Armando Morelos of Sioux City had been in a relationship with a woman who lives at that location and shot a man who was visiting.  Morelos fled before officers arrived.  The victim was sent to the hospital where he is expected to be o.k.

Morales is considered armed and dangerous.

Less than an hour earlier, another man was shot after breaking up a fight between two other people in the same area on West 7th Street.  The injured man went to the hospital with serious injuries.  A suspect in that shooting hasn’t been identified.

A spokesperson for the Sioux City Police Department says it appears the three shootings are not related.

Investigators say South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg was distracted before he drove onto a highway shoulder where he struck and killed a pedestrian. Secretary of Public Safety Craig Price released details about the investigation on Monday. He says that 55-year-old Joseph Boever was walking on the shoulder and displaying some type of light on the night of Sept. 12 when he was struck by Ravnsborg’s 2011 Ford Taurus. Price did not describe what led Ravnsborg to become distracted and he did not respond to questions about what the distraction was. Ravnsborg told a 911 dispatcher that he hit “something” in the middle of the road. It's unclear how fast Ravnsborg was driving.

County election boards have started counting a record number of absentee ballots in Iowa, racing toward a Tuesday night deadline to have those votes tabulated. Nearly 956,000 people had sent in their ballots by mail, dropped them off at auditor’s offices or voted early in person as of Monday morning. That is more than half of the total turnout in the election, which is expected to exceed 1.6 million. In all 99 counties, bipartisan election boards could begin counting the absentee votes on Monday as allowed by state law. Some were planning to work all day and late into the night before reconvening Tuesday.

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst plans another campaign stop in Sioux City tonight.  The Republican from Red Oak was also in Sioux City on Friday in her tight race against Democratic candidate Theresa Greenfield of the Des Moines area.

Ernst will appear at a rally at Country Celebrations Event Center at 7 p.m. along with Governor Kim Reynolds, Congressional Candidate Randy Feenstra of Hull and Bob Henderson who is running for the Iowa House District 14 seat against Democrat Steve Hansen. 

Representative Tim Kacena, a Democrat chose not to run for re-election.  He won his first of two terms in 2016.  The district covers Sioux City west and parts of the northside. 

President Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump is campaigning at the Iowa State Fairgrounds this afternoon.  Trump’s team recently ramped up visits to battle ground states, including Iowa.

With a contentious national election there are some fears across the country that U.S. polling sites could potentially see violence or experience intimidation.

Siouxland Public Media reached out to the Sioux City Police Department about voter intimidation and received this response from spokesperson Jeremy McClure:

“We have not had any intelligence that there will be any efforts to intimidate or interfere with polling sites. There are no plans for extra security at any polling location. We would warn anyone that would interfere with a polling site or person’s effort to vote could face felony charges under Iowa Code 39A.2.”

The WITCC Mass Comm department will be doing regular election updates tomorrow night at YouTube.com/wittv.  This coverage will also include live reports from the Woodbury County Courthouse.  A preview show starts at 7 p.m. with updates at the top of the hour until 11 p.m. or even later.

News release from Morningside College:

Approximately 25 Morningside students and faculty members will be covering the election on Tuesday night on KMSC Fusion 93 (the student radio voice of Morningside College) and MCTV (Morningside College Television). Students will be on-air, as well as camera operators, directors, audio operators, producers, and several students will be watching various races throughout the night.

Additionally, Professor Valerie Hennings and student fellows associated with the Bud Day Center for Civic Engagement are hosting the first-ever Mside Masterclass tonight titled  "The Power of Civic Engagement." The virtual event will be a nonpartisan examination of some of the major topics on the minds of Americans as we head into the election, while also considering ways we can have healthy discussions.

The overall economic index of a monthly survey of Midwest business leaders hit a 16-year high for October, but the manufacturing sector of the economy remains stunted from the coronavirus outbreak. The overall measure of the Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions Index improved to 70.2 in October from September’s already strong 65.1. Any score above 50 on the survey’s indexes suggests growth. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey and says that even with the high index level, manufacturing output remains below levels seen before the pandemic. The monthly survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.    

Five of the six states with the nation’s lowest unemployment rates are in the Midwest, have Republican governors and have almost no restrictions intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Those governors have said their lack of mask mandates or other restrictions are a big reason why their states are riding out the pandemic relatively well, but economists say it’s not so simple. Economists say a lack of mandates might help, but of even greater importance is the fact that Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa and Missouri have economies that rely heavily on industries that weren’t hit as hard by the pandemic.

Iowa’s various agricultural sectors have had different pandemic challenges. For the 130-or-so turkey farmers, the initial drop in restaurant sales led to an over-supply in late spring and summer.

Iowa Turkey Federation director Gretta Irwin says one of the state’s big processors paused production for six weeks, but not because workers were infected.

“Turkey is not like fine wine, it’s not better the longer it sits in storage. We need to get that product out there and consumed by the consumers.”

The pause meant many barns sat empty from August into October. Irwin says federal relief money helped farmers bridge the gap and many are now bringing baby turkeys back in to resume production. In contrast, Iowa’s egg farms culled millions of hens when demand for eggs plummeted.  

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