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News and resources regarding COVID-19

News 11.23.20: More C19 Deaths in Woodbury County, NE Warning, Lost Children March and More

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SPM NEWS 11.23.20 - 4:32PM

The state of Iowa recorded 13 more deaths due to complications of COVID-19 in a 24-hour period.  Four of the deaths from Woodbury County; three older adults and one elderly woman over the age of 81.  Since the start of the pandemic 115 Woodbury County residents have died.  Local health officials say to avoid nonessential gatherings when possible. 

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Credit Siouxland District Health Department
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Siouxland District health reported 36 additional cases today. There were 109 added yesterday, including one more death, a man between the ages of 41 and 60.

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Credit Siouxland District Health Department
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Yesterday, the local health department also released a trend report covering the week that ended on November 15th.  It showed four consecutive weeks of COVID-19 case increases.

Officials say a change will only happen when all residents engage in mitigation efforts. 

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Credit Siouxland District Health Department
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Patrons of bars and restaurants are required to wear a mask when not seated and maintain 6-feet of distance between groups.  Groups are limited to 8 unless all come from the same household.

Statewide, the number of Iowans hospitalized is down, but the Iowa Department of Public Health reports the number of patients in the ICU and those on ventilators is up.

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Credit Siouxland District Health Department
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The number of patients at Sioux City’s two hospitals is up Friday from the day before at 91 with 67 battling COVID-19 alone.  That is an increase of 20% from a month ago.

Woodbury County’s 14-day positivity rate is 22%, down slightly.  One month ago, the rate was just under 15%, a number that shows high community spread.  All counties in northwest Iowa are above the 15% threshold.  Lyon County is number two in the state with 35.6%

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and the state’s top medical official again issued urgent pleas for people to take precautions to stop COVID-19 infections.

Ricketts asked Nebraskans to keep their gatherings at Thanksgiving small.  He also told people to stay out of bars on Wednesday night.  That’s usually a busy time.

The state’s chief medical officer says resources are strained and Nebraskans need to pull together like they did when floods hit the state last year.

Ricketts did appear at a news conference this morning, in person, after spending two week in quarantine after being exposed to the virus during a dinner at his home in Omaha.

Nebraska reported one of the smallest numbers of new virus cases this month on Sunday, but the number of people hospitalized with the virus remained high and continues to strain hospital capacity in the state. The state reported 1,032 new virus cases Sunday. That was less than half of the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in the state which was 2,313.57. Nebraska said 976 people were being treated for COVID-19 in the state’s hospitals, so 23% of the state’s hospital beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients, which is approaching the threshold of 25% that will trigger more social distancing restrictions from the state.

Republican governors in some hard-hit states are refusing to ask families to limit Thanksgiving celebrations despite warnings from federal health officials that gatherings could worsen a coronavirus surge that's already spinning out of control.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says her administration “won’t stop or discourage you from thanking God and spending time together this Thanksgiving.”

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt says people “should be with their loved ones over Thanksgiving" and that he will also attend a football game this weekend.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is pleading with Americans to gather only with people in their immediate households as infections overwhelm hospitals in many states.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley who tested positive for the novel coronavirus provided an update on his condition today on Twitter.  He said “Thx for the continued support. I’m still feeling good + am keeping up on my reading & work from home I look fwd to being back in the Senate next wk after Thanksgiving.”

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Credit Twitter/Sen. Chuck Grassley
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South Dakota has reported its first flu death of the season, saying the person was in their 80s and lived in Potter County. Additional information about the individual was not released in order to protect patient confidentiality. State epidemiologist Josh Clayton says the death is a reminder that the flu can be serious, and it's not too late to get vaccinated. Clayton said flu activity statewide is classified as sporadic. In addition to one death, the state is reporting four lab-confirmed cases of the flu and two flu-related hospitalizations. Every year, an average of 48 flu-related deaths are reported in South Dakota.

This week marks a Native American tradition in Sioux City honoring their children placed into the non-Native foster care system.

The 18th annual Memorial March to Honor Lost Children started today with two days of virtual educational workshops. One of the organizers, Manape LaMere, says people will need to wear face masks and social distance during the march Wednesday.

We definitely don’t want any consequences of COVID to come upon our gathering. So the leaders of the march have to ensure that we could take as much caution as possible.

LaMere says they’ll stop four times for prayer. Normally people eat a meal together at the end of the march. Instead, LaMere says food will be handed out to take home.

A new report from researchers at the University of Nebraska at Omaha shows that Black Nebraskans are far more likely to be arrested and placed behind bars. The Omaha World-Herald reports that the Black people also are significantly underrepresented among those receiving diversion or intervention services rather than jail time. The report found that the average number of arrests of Black people in Nebraska from 2014 to 2019 amounted to 19% of all arrests, while Blacks make up 5% of the state’s population. The study found that at state and federal correctional facilities, Black inmates were overrepresented by five times their population.
House Democrats lost enough seats in this month's elections that they'll have the smallest majority in more than a century. To find out what happened, the party has already begun a “deep dive” examination, and so far it's blaming a parade of missteps. They include moving too far to the left on national issues, not explaining well how they’d fix an outbreak-ravaged economy and failing to grow their appeal with enough Latinos. House Democrats also were hurt by curtailing in-person campaigning amid the coronavirus pandemic. But a major factor was President Donald Trump's ability to drive strong turnout.

Dry conditions and warmer temperatures allowed Iowa farmers nearly six and a half days suitable for fieldwork last week. Farmers in some areas of the State continue to clean up debris from the derecho that blew through in August. Only 2% of Iowa’s corn crop remains to be harvested, that’s 3 weeks ahead of last year and 11 days ahead of the 5-year average. In most areas of the State only scattered fields of corn and soybeans remain to be harvested. Some corn fields damaged by the derecho remain to be disked.  Extra tillage is being done by some farmers out of concern for volunteer corn in 2021 due to damaged fields this year.

Two turkeys from Iowa will be front and center at the White House this week.

The National Turkey Federation says the birds from a family farm in Walcott, Iowa will receive the annual pardon at the White House by President Trump.

Local school kids gave the two unofficial names of “Corn” and “Cob”.

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Credit KWQC Television - Davenport, IA
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News release from UnityPoint Health-St. Lukes:

After nearly two decades of dedicated service to UnityPoint Health – Sioux City, Lynn Wold has chosen to step down as President and CEO, effective November 25.

During his tenure at St. Luke’s, Wold was instrumental in physician alignment and integrated business models, including the expansion of urgent care in Sioux City. Under his leadership, the Sioux City team developed and opened the Sunnybrook facility. He developed a critical access relationship with Cherokee Regional Medical Center that furthered our rural health efforts. Wold also helped establish an inpatient acute rehab unit, launched Pierce Street Same Day Surgery and advanced cardiology services. His passion for healthcare is evident, and he remains devoted to the Sioux City community.

“We appreciate Lynn Wold’s leadership during his 18 years at St. Luke’s, and wish him nothing but the very best,” says Craig Berenstein, chair of the UnityPoint Health – Sioux City Board of Directors. “Lynn led with commitment and dedication to improving the health of our community. We are grateful for all he has given to our organization.”

A national search for a new, permanent CEO will begin immediately. In the meantime, Leah Glasgo, President and CEO of UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge, will serve as interim CEO of UnityPoint Health – Sioux City. This interim role will be in addition to her duties in Fort Dodge. When a permanent CEO is selected for Sioux City, Glasgo will return full-time to Fort Dodge.

“Change is never easy, especially during these unprecedented times, but UnityPoint Health remains focused on delivering the best possible patient care to the patients and communities we serve,” said Art Nizza, Chief Operating Officer of UnityPoint Health. “We respect Lynn’s wishes to step down from his role and thank him for his contributions to our organization.”

Sheila Brummer returns to her radio roots as a Reporter/Special Projects Producer for Siouxland Public Media KWIT-KOJI.
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